Show, Deconfound and Tell: Image Captioning With Causal Inference

Bing Liu, Dong Wang, Xu Yang, Yong Zhou, Rui Yao, Zhiwen Shao, Jiaqi Zhao; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2022, pp. 18041-18050


The transformer-based encoder-decoder framework has shown remarkable performance in image captioning. However, most transformer-based captioning methods ever overlook two kinds of elusive confounders: the visual confounder and the linguistic confounder, which generally lead to harmful bias, induce the spurious correlations during training, and degrade the model generalization. In this paper, we first use Structural Causal Models (SCMs) to show how two confounders damage the image captioning. Then we apply the backdoor adjustment to propose a novel causal inference based image captioning (CIIC) framework, which consists of an interventional object detector (IOD) and an interventional transformer decoder (ITD) to jointly confront both confounders. In the encoding stage, the IOD is able to disentangle the region-based visual features by deconfounding the visual confounder. In the decoding stage, the ITD introduces causal intervention into the transformer decoder and deconfounds the visual and linguistic confounders simultaneously. Two modules collaborate with each other to alleviate the spurious correlations caused by the unobserved confounders. When tested on MSCOCO, our proposal significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art encoder-decoder models on Karpathy split and online test split. Code is published in https: //

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@InProceedings{Liu_2022_CVPR, author = {Liu, Bing and Wang, Dong and Yang, Xu and Zhou, Yong and Yao, Rui and Shao, Zhiwen and Zhao, Jiaqi}, title = {Show, Deconfound and Tell: Image Captioning With Causal Inference}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)}, month = {June}, year = {2022}, pages = {18041-18050} }