Michael Littman


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Explaining Why: How Instructions and User Interfaces Impact Annotator Rationales When Labeling Text Data
Jamar Sullivan Jr. | Will Brackenbury | Andrew McNutt | Kevin Bryson | Kwam Byll | Yuxin Chen | Michael Littman | Chenhao Tan | Blase Ur
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

In the context of data labeling, NLP researchers are increasingly interested in having humans select rationales, a subset of input tokens relevant to the chosen label. We conducted a 332-participant online user study to understand how humans select rationales, especially how different instructions and user interface affordances impact the rationales chosen. Participants labeled ten movie reviews as positive or negative, selecting words and phrases supporting their label as rationales. We varied the instructions given, the rationale-selection task, and the user interface. Participants often selected about 12% of input tokens as rationales, but selected fewer if unable to drag over multiple tokens at once. Whereas participants were near unanimous in their data labels, they were far less consistent in their rationales. The user interface affordances and task greatly impacted the types of rationales chosen. We also observed large variance across participants.

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Selecting Context Clozes for Lightweight Reading Compliance
Greg Keim | Michael Littman
Proceedings of the 17th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2022)

We explore a novel approach to reading compliance, leveraging large language models to select inline challenges that discourage skipping during reading. This lightweight ‘testing’ is accomplished through automatically identified context clozes where the reader must supply a missing word that would be hard to guess if earlier material was skipped. Clozes are selected by scoring each word by the contrast between its likelihood with and without prior sentences as context, preferring to leave gaps where this contrast is high. We report results of an initial human-participant test that indicates this method can find clozes that have this property.


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Learning to Interpret Natural Language Instructions
Monica Babeş-Vroman | James MacGlashan | Ruoyuan Gao | Kevin Winner | Richard Adjogah | Marie desJardins | Michael Littman | Smaranda Muresan
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Semantic Interpretation in an Actionable Context