Johannes Mario Meissner


Debiasing Masks: A New Framework for Shortcut Mitigation in NLU
Johannes Mario Meissner | Saku Sugawara | Akiko Aizawa
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Debiasing language models from unwanted behaviors in Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tasks is a topic with rapidly increasing interest in the NLP community. Spurious statistical correlations in the data allow models to perform shortcuts and avoid uncovering more advanced and desirable linguistic features.A multitude of effective debiasing approaches has been proposed, but flexibility remains a major issue. For the most part, models must be retrained to find a new set of weights with debiased behavior.We propose a new debiasing method in which we identify debiased pruning masks that can be applied to a finetuned model. This enables the selective and conditional application of debiasing behaviors.We assume that bias is caused by a certain subset of weights in the network; our method is, in essence, a mask search to identify and remove biased weights.Our masks show equivalent or superior performance to the standard counterparts, while offering important benefits.Pruning masks can be stored with high efficiency in memory, and it becomes possible to switch among several debiasing behaviors (or revert back to the original biased model) at inference time. Finally, it opens the doors to further research on how biases are acquired by studying the generated masks. For example, we observed that the early layers and attention heads were pruned more aggressively, possibly hinting towards the location in which biases may be encoded.


Embracing Ambiguity: Shifting the Training Target of NLI Models
Johannes Mario Meissner | Napat Thumwanit | Saku Sugawara | Akiko Aizawa
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Natural Language Inference (NLI) datasets contain examples with highly ambiguous labels. While many research works do not pay much attention to this fact, several recent efforts have been made to acknowledge and embrace the existence of ambiguity, such as UNLI and ChaosNLI. In this paper, we explore the option of training directly on the estimated label distribution of the annotators in the NLI task, using a learning loss based on this ambiguity distribution instead of the gold-labels. We prepare AmbiNLI, a trial dataset obtained from readily available sources, and show it is possible to reduce ChaosNLI divergence scores when finetuning on this data, a promising first step towards learning how to capture linguistic ambiguity. Additionally, we show that training on the same amount of data but targeting the ambiguity distribution instead of gold-labels can result in models that achieve higher performance and learn better representations for downstream tasks.