Animesh Nighojkar


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No Strong Feelings One Way or Another: Re-operationalizing Neutrality in Natural Language Inference
Animesh Nighojkar | Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | John Licato
Proceedings of the 17th Linguistic Annotation Workshop (LAW-XVII)

Natural Language Inference (NLI) has been a cornerstone task in evaluating language models’ inferential reasoning capabilities. However, the standard three-way classification scheme used in NLI has well-known shortcomings in evaluating models’ ability to capture the nuances of natural human reasoning. In this paper, we argue that the operationalization of the neutral label in current NLI datasets has low validity, is interpreted inconsistently, and that at least one important sense of neutrality is often ignored. We uncover the detrimental impact of these shortcomings, which in some cases leads to annotation datasets that actually decrease performance on downstream tasks. We compare approaches of handling annotator disagreement and identify flaws in a recent NLI dataset that designs an annotator study based on a problematic operationalization. Our findings highlight the need for a more refined evaluation framework for NLI, and we hope to spark further discussion and action in the NLP community.


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Improving Paraphrase Detection with the Adversarial Paraphrasing Task
Animesh Nighojkar | John Licato
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

If two sentences have the same meaning, it should follow that they are equivalent in their inferential properties, i.e., each sentence should textually entail the other. However, many paraphrase datasets currently in widespread use rely on a sense of paraphrase based on word overlap and syntax. Can we teach them instead to identify paraphrases in a way that draws on the inferential properties of the sentences, and is not over-reliant on lexical and syntactic similarities of a sentence pair? We apply the adversarial paradigm to this question, and introduce a new adversarial method of dataset creation for paraphrase identification: the Adversarial Paraphrasing Task (APT), which asks participants to generate semantically equivalent (in the sense of mutually implicative) but lexically and syntactically disparate paraphrases. These sentence pairs can then be used both to test paraphrase identification models (which get barely random accuracy) and then improve their performance. To accelerate dataset generation, we explore automation of APT using T5, and show that the resulting dataset also improves accuracy. We discuss implications for paraphrase detection and release our dataset in the hope of making paraphrase detection models better able to detect sentence-level meaning equivalence.

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Can Transformer Language Models Predict Psychometric Properties?
Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | Animesh Nighojkar | Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov | John Licato
Proceedings of *SEM 2021: The Tenth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Transformer-based language models (LMs) continue to advance state-of-the-art performance on NLP benchmark tasks, including tasks designed to mimic human-inspired “commonsense” competencies. To better understand the degree to which LMs can be said to have certain linguistic reasoning skills, researchers are beginning to adapt the tools and concepts of the field of psychometrics. But to what extent can the benefits flow in the other direction? I.e., can LMs be of use in predicting what the psychometric properties of test items will be when those items are given to human participants? We gather responses from numerous human participants and LMs (transformer- and non-transformer-based) on a broad diagnostic test of linguistic competencies. We then use the responses to calculate standard psychometric properties of the items in the diagnostic test, using the human responses and the LM responses separately. We then determine how well these two sets of predictions match. We find cases in which transformer-based LMs predict psychometric properties consistently well in certain categories but consistently poorly in others, thus providing new insights into fundamental similarities and differences between human and LM reasoning.