Antonio Laverghetta Jr.


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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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Generating Better Items for Cognitive Assessments Using Large Language Models
Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | John Licato
Proceedings of the 18th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2023)

Writing high-quality test questions (items) is critical to building educational measures but has traditionally also been a time-consuming process. One promising avenue for alleviating this is automated item generation, whereby methods from artificial intelligence (AI) are used to generate new items with minimal human intervention. Researchers have explored using large language models (LLMs) to generate new items with equivalent psychometric properties to human-written ones. But can LLMs generate items with improved psychometric properties, even when existing items have poor validity evidence? We investigate this using items from a natural language inference (NLI) dataset. We develop a novel prompting strategy based on selecting items with both the best and worst properties to use in the prompt and use GPT-3 to generate new NLI items. We find that the GPT-3 items show improved psychometric properties in many cases, whilst also possessing good content, convergent and discriminant validity evidence. Collectively, our results demonstrate the potential of employing LLMs to ease the item development process and suggest that the careful use of prompting may allow for iterative improvement of item quality.


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Developmental Negation Processing in Transformer Language Models
Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | John Licato
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Reasoning using negation is known to be difficult for transformer-based language models. While previous studies have used the tools of psycholinguistics to probe a transformer’s ability to reason over negation, none have focused on the types of negation studied in developmental psychology. We explore how well transformers can process such categories of negation, by framing the problem as a natural language inference (NLI) task. We curate a set of diagnostic questions for our target categories from popular NLI datasets and evaluate how well a suite of models reason over them. We find that models perform consistently better only on certain categories, suggesting clear distinctions in how they are processed.


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A Large-Scale Study of Machine Translation in Turkic Languages
Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov | Anoop Babu | Duygu Ataman | Sherzod Kariev | Francis Tyers | Otabek Abduraufov | Mammad Hajili | Sardana Ivanova | Abror Khaytbaev | Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | Bekhzodbek Moydinboyev | Esra Onal | Shaxnoza Pulatova | Ahsan Wahab | Orhan Firat | Sriram Chellappan
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Recent advances in neural machine translation (NMT) have pushed the quality of machine translation systems to the point where they are becoming widely adopted to build competitive systems. However, there is still a large number of languages that are yet to reap the benefits of NMT. In this paper, we provide the first large-scale case study of the practical application of MT in the Turkic language family in order to realize the gains of NMT for Turkic languages under high-resource to extremely low-resource scenarios. In addition to presenting an extensive analysis that identifies the bottlenecks towards building competitive systems to ameliorate data scarcity, our study has several key contributions, including, i) a large parallel corpus covering 22 Turkic languages consisting of common public datasets in combination with new datasets of approximately 1.4 million parallel sentences, ii) bilingual baselines for 26 language pairs, iii) novel high-quality test sets in three different translation domains and iv) human evaluation scores. All models, scripts, and data will be released to the public.

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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.


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Towards a Task-Agnostic Model of Difficulty Estimation for Supervised Learning Tasks
Antonio Laverghetta Jr. | Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov | John Licato
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Student Research Workshop

Curriculum learning, a training strategy where training data are ordered based on their difficulty, has been shown to improve performance and reduce training time on various NLP tasks. While much work over the years has developed novel approaches for generating curricula, these strategies are typically only suited for the task they were designed for. This work explores developing a task-agnostic model for problem difficulty and applying it to the Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) dataset. Using the human responses that come with the dev set of SNLI, we train both regression and classification models to predict how many annotators will answer a question correctly and then project the difficulty estimates onto the full SNLI train set to create the curriculum. We argue that our curriculum is effectively capturing difficulty for this task through various analyses of both the model and the predicted difficulty scores.