Perceptual Score: What Data Modalities Does Your Model Perceive?

Itai Gat, Idan Schwartz, Alexander Schwing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Machine learning advances in the last decade have relied significantly on large-scale datasets that continue to grow in size. Increasingly, those datasets also contain different data modalities. However, large multi-modal datasets are hard to annotate, and annotations may contain biases that we are often unaware of. Deep-net-based classifiers, in turn, are prone to exploit those biases and to find shortcuts. To study and quantify this concern, we introduce the perceptual score, a metric that assesses the degree to which a model relies on the different subsets of the input features, i.e., modalities. Using the perceptual score, we find a surprisingly consistent trend across four popular datasets: recent, more accurate state-of-the-art multi-modal models for visual question-answering or visual dialog tend to perceive the visual data less than their predecessors. This trend is concerning as answers are hence increasingly inferred from textual cues only. Using the perceptual score also helps to analyze model biases by decomposing the score into data subset contributions. We hope to spur a discussion on the perceptiveness of multi-modal models and also hope to encourage the community working on multi-modal classifiers to start quantifying perceptiveness via the proposed perceptual score.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
EditorsMarc'Aurelio Ranzato, Alina Beygelzimer, Yann Dauphin, Percy S. Liang, Jenn Wortman Vaughan
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781713845393
StatePublished - 2021
Event35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2021Dec 14 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
ISSN (Print)1049-5258


Conference35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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