SQuINTing at VQA Models: Introspecting VQA Models With Sub-Questions

Ramprasaath R. Selvaraju, Purva Tendulkar, Devi Parikh, Eric Horvitz, Marco Tulio Ribeiro, Besmira Nushi, Ece Kamar; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020, pp. 10003-10011


Existing VQA datasets contain questions with varying levels of complexity. While the majority of questions in these datasets require perception for recognizing existence, properties, and spatial relationships of entities, a significant portion of questions pose challenges that correspond to reasoning tasks - tasks that can only be answered through a synthesis of perception and knowledge about the world, logic and / or reasoning. Analyzing performance across this distinction allows us to notice when existing VQA models have consistency issues - they answer the reasoning questions correctly but fail on associated low-level perception questions. For example, in Figure 1, models answer the complex reasoning question "Is the banana ripe enough to eat?" correctly, but fail on the associated perception question "Are the bananas mostly green or yellow?" indicating that the model likely answered the reasoning question correctly but for the wrong reason. We quantify the extent to which this phenomenon occurs by creating a new Reasoning split of the VQA dataset and collecting VQAintrospect, a new dataset1 which currently consists of 200K new perception questions which serve as sub questions corresponding to the set of perceptual tasks needed to effectively answer the complex reasoning questions in the Reasoning split. Our evaluation shows that state-of-the-art VQA models have comparable performance in answering perception and reasoning questions, but suffer from consistency problems. To address this shortcoming, we propose an approach called Sub-Question Importance-aware Network Tuning (SQuINT), which encourages the model to attend to the same parts of the image when answering the reasoning question and the perception sub question. We show that SQuINT improves model consistency by 7%, also marginally improving performance on the Reasoning questions in VQA, while also displaying better attention maps.

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[pdf] [arXiv]
author = {Selvaraju, Ramprasaath R. and Tendulkar, Purva and Parikh, Devi and Horvitz, Eric and Ribeiro, Marco Tulio and Nushi, Besmira and Kamar, Ece},
title = {SQuINTing at VQA Models: Introspecting VQA Models With Sub-Questions},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2020}