D-Separation for Causal Self-Explanation

Wei Liu · Jun Wang · Haozhao Wang · Ruixuan Li · Zhiying Deng · YuanKai Zhang · Yang Qiu

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1700
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Thu 14 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Rationalization aims to strengthen the interpretability of NLP models by extracting a subset of human-intelligible pieces of their inputting texts. Conventional works generally employ the maximum mutual information (MMI) criterion to find the rationale that is most indicative of the target label. However, this criterion can be influenced by spurious features that correlate with the causal rationale or the target label. Instead of attempting to rectify the issues of the MMI criterion, we propose a novel criterion to uncover the causal rationale, termed the Minimum Conditional Dependence (MCD) criterion, which is grounded on our finding that the non-causal features and the target label are \emph{d-separated} by the causal rationale. By minimizing the dependence between the non-selected parts of the input and the target label conditioned on the selected rationale candidate, all the causes of the label are compelled to be selected. In this study, we employ a simple and practical measure for dependence, specifically the KL-divergence, to validate our proposed MCD criterion. Empirically, we demonstrate that MCD improves the F1 score by up to 13.7% compared to previous state-of-the-art MMI-based methods.Our code is in an anonymous repository:

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