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Improving Language Models’ Meaning Understanding and Consistency by Learning Conceptual Roles from Dictionary

Myeongjun Erik Jang and Thomas Lukasiewicz


The non-humanlike behaviour of contemporary pre-trained language models (PLMs) is a leading cause undermining their trustworthiness. A striking phenomenon of such faulty behaviours is the generation of inconsistent predictions, which produces logically contradictory results, such as generating different predictions for texts delivering the same meaning or violating logical properties. Previous studies exploited data augmentation or implemented specialised loss functions to alleviate the issue. However, their usage is limited, because they consume expensive training resources for large-sized PLMs and can only handle a certain consistency type. To this end, we propose a practical approach that alleviates the inconsistent behaviour issue by fundamentally improving PLMs' meaning awareness. Based on the conceptual role theory, our method allows PLMs to capture accurate meaning by learning precise interrelationships between concepts from word-definition pairs in a dictionary. Next, we propose an efficient parameter integration technique that updates only a few additional parameters to combine the learned interrelationship with PLMs' pre-trained knowledge. Our experimental results reveal that the approach can concurrently improve multiple types of consistency, enables efficient knowledge integration, and easily applies to other languages.

Book Title
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing‚ EMNLP 2023‚ Singapore‚ December 6−10‚ 2023
Association for Computational Linguistics