Multi-Modal Models for Concrete and Abstract Concept Meaning

Felix Hill, Roi Reichart, Anna Korhonen


Multi-modal models that learn semantic representations from both linguistic and perceptual input outperform language-only models on a range of evaluations, and better reflect human concept acquisition. Most perceptual input to such models corresponds to concrete noun concepts and the superiority of the multi-modal approach has only been established when evaluating on such concepts. We therefore investigate which concepts can be effectively learned by multi-modal models. We show that concreteness determines both which linguistic features are most informative and the impact of perceptual input in such models. We then introduce ridge regression as a means of propagating perceptual information from concrete nouns to more abstract concepts that is more robust than previous approaches. Finally, we present weighted gram matrix combination, a means of combining representations from distinct modalities that outperforms alternatives when both modalities are sufficiently rich. 


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