Probing Image-Language Transformers for Verb Understanding

Abstract

Multimodal Image-Language transformers have achieved impressive results on a variety of tasks that rely on fine-tuning (e.g., visual question answering and image retrieval). We are interested in shedding light on the quality of their pretrained representations--in particular, if these models can distinguish verbs or they only use the nouns in a given sentence. To do so, we collect a dataset of image-sentence pairs consisting of 447 verbs that are either visual or commonly found in the pretraining data (i.e., the Conceptual Captions dataset). We use this dataset to evaluate the pretrained models in a zero-shot way. We find that the pretrained models fail more in situations that require verb understanding compared to other parts of speech. We also investigate what category of verbs are particularly challenging for these models.

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