Stephanie Brandl


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Domain-Specific Word Embeddings with Structure Prediction
David Lassner | Stephanie Brandl | Anne Baillot | Shinichi Nakajima
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 11

Complementary to finding good general word embeddings, an important question for representation learning is to find dynamic word embeddings, for example, across time or domain. Current methods do not offer a way to use or predict information on structure between sub-corpora, time or domain and dynamic embeddings can only be compared after post-alignment. We propose novel word embedding methods that provide general word representations for the whole corpus, domain- specific representations for each sub-corpus, sub-corpus structure, and embedding alignment simultaneously. We present an empirical evaluation on New York Times articles and two English Wikipedia datasets with articles on science and philosophy. Our method, called Word2Vec with Structure Prediction (W2VPred), provides better performance than baselines in terms of the general analogy tests, domain-specific analogy tests, and multiple specific word embedding evaluations as well as structure prediction performance when no structure is given a priori. As a use case in the field of Digital Humanities we demonstrate how to raise novel research questions for high literature from the German Text Archive.

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Rather a Nurse than a Physician - Contrastive Explanations under Investigation
Oliver Eberle | Ilias Chalkidis | Laura Cabello | Stephanie Brandl
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Contrastive explanations, where one decision is explained *in contrast to another*, are supposed to be closer to how humans explain a decision than non-contrastive explanations, where the decision is not necessarily referenced to an alternative. This claim has never been empirically validated. We analyze four English text-classification datasets (SST2, DynaSent, BIOS and DBpedia-Animals). We fine-tune and extract explanations from three different models (RoBERTa, GTP-2, and T5), each in three different sizes and apply three post-hoc explainability methods (LRP, GradientxInput, GradNorm). We furthermore collect and release human rationale annotations for a subset of 100 samples from the BIOS dataset for contrastive and non-contrastive settings. A cross-comparison between model-based rationales and human annotations, both in contrastive and non-contrastive settings, yields a high agreement between the two settings for models as well as for humans. Moreover, model-based explanations computed in both settings align equally well with human rationales. Thus, we empirically find that humans do not necessarily explain in a contrastive manner.

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Evaluating Bias and Fairness in Gender-Neutral Pretrained Vision-and-Language Models
Laura Cabello | Emanuele Bugliarello | Stephanie Brandl | Desmond Elliott
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Pretrained machine learning models are known to perpetuate and even amplify existing biases in data, which can result in unfair outcomes that ultimately impact user experience. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms behind those prejudicial biases to ensure that model performance does not result in discriminatory behaviour toward certain groups or populations. In this work, we define gender bias as our case study. We quantify bias amplification in pretraining and after fine-tuning on three families of vision-and-language models. We investigate the connection, if any, between the two learning stages, and evaluate how bias amplification reflects on model performance. Overall, we find that bias amplification in pretraining and after fine-tuning are independent. We then examine the effect of continued pretraining on gender-neutral data, finding that this reduces group disparities, i.e., promotes fairness, on VQAv2 and retrieval tasks without significantly compromising task performance.


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Every word counts: A multilingual analysis of individual human alignment with model attention
Stephanie Brandl | Nora Hollenstein
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Human fixation patterns have been shown to correlate strongly with Transformer-based attention. Those correlation analyses are usually carried out without taking into account individual differences between participants and are mostly done on monolingual datasets making it difficult to generalise findings. In this paper, we analyse eye-tracking data from speakers of 13 different languages reading both in their native language (L1) and in English as language learners (L2). We find considerable differences between languages but also that individual reading behaviour such as skipping rate, total reading time and vocabulary knowledge (LexTALE) influence the alignment between humans and models to an extent that should be considered in future studies.

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A Cross-lingual Comparison of Human and Model Relative Word Importance
Felix Morger | Stephanie Brandl | Lisa Beinborn | Nora Hollenstein
Proceedings of the 2022 CLASP Conference on (Dis)embodiment

Relative word importance is a key metric for natural language processing. In this work, we compare human and model relative word importance to investigate if pretrained neural language models focus on the same words as humans cross-lingually. We perform an extensive study using several importance metrics (gradient-based saliency and attention-based) in monolingual and multilingual models, including eye-tracking corpora from four languages (German, Dutch, English, and Russian). We find that gradient-based saliency, first-layer attention, and attention flow correlate strongly with human eye-tracking data across all four languages. We further analyze the role of word length and word frequency in determining relative importance and find that it strongly correlates with length and frequency, however, the mechanisms behind these non-linear relations remain elusive. We obtain a cross-lingual approximation of the similarity between human and computational language processing and insights into the usability of several importance metrics.

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How Conservative are Language Models? Adapting to the Introduction of Gender-Neutral Pronouns
Stephanie Brandl | Ruixiang Cui | Anders Søgaard
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Gender-neutral pronouns have recently been introduced in many languages to a) include non-binary people and b) as a generic singular. Recent results from psycholinguistics suggest that gender-neutral pronouns (in Swedish) are not associated with human processing difficulties. This, we show, is in sharp contrast with automated processing. We show that gender-neutral pronouns in Danish, English, and Swedish are associated with higher perplexity, more dispersed attention patterns, and worse downstream performance. We argue that such conservativity in language models may limit widespread adoption of gender-neutral pronouns and must therefore be resolved.

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Do Transformer Models Show Similar Attention Patterns to Task-Specific Human Gaze?
Oliver Eberle | Stephanie Brandl | Jonas Pilot | Anders Søgaard
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Learned self-attention functions in state-of-the-art NLP models often correlate with human attention. We investigate whether self-attention in large-scale pre-trained language models is as predictive of human eye fixation patterns during task-reading as classical cognitive models of human attention. We compare attention functions across two task-specific reading datasets for sentiment analysis and relation extraction. We find the predictiveness of large-scale pre-trained self-attention for human attention depends on ‘what is in the tail’, e.g., the syntactic nature of rare contexts. Further, we observe that task-specific fine-tuning does not increase the correlation with human task-specific reading. Through an input reduction experiment we give complementary insights on the sparsity and fidelity trade-off, showing that lower-entropy attention vectors are more faithful.

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Challenges and Strategies in Cross-Cultural NLP
Daniel Hershcovich | Stella Frank | Heather Lent | Miryam de Lhoneux | Mostafa Abdou | Stephanie Brandl | Emanuele Bugliarello | Laura Cabello Piqueras | Ilias Chalkidis | Ruixiang Cui | Constanza Fierro | Katerina Margatina | Phillip Rust | Anders Søgaard
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Various efforts in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) community have been made to accommodate linguistic diversity and serve speakers of many different languages. However, it is important to acknowledge that speakers and the content they produce and require, vary not just by language, but also by culture. Although language and culture are tightly linked, there are important differences. Analogous to cross-lingual and multilingual NLP, cross-cultural and multicultural NLP considers these differences in order to better serve users of NLP systems. We propose a principled framework to frame these efforts, and survey existing and potential strategies.


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Times Are Changing: Investigating the Pace of Language Change in Diachronic Word Embeddings
Stephanie Brandl | David Lassner
Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change

We propose Word Embedding Networks, a novel method that is able to learn word embeddings of individual data slices while simultaneously aligning and ordering them without feeding temporal information a priori to the model. This gives us the opportunity to analyse the dynamics in word embeddings on a large scale in a purely data-driven manner. In experiments on two different newspaper corpora, the New York Times (English) and die Zeit (German), we were able to show that time actually determines the dynamics of semantic change. However, there is by no means a uniform evolution, but instead times of faster and times of slower change.