Social Bias Frames: Reasoning about Social and Power Implications of Language

by   Maarten Sap, et al.

Language has the power to reinforce stereotypes and project social biases onto others. At the core of the challenge is that it is rarely what is stated explicitly, but all the implied meanings that frame people's judgements about others. For example, given a seemingly innocuous statement "we shouldn't lower our standards to hire more women," most listeners will infer the implicature intended by the speaker - that "women (candidates) are less qualified." Most frame semantic formalisms, to date, do not capture such pragmatic frames in which people express social biases and power differentials in language. We introduce Social Bias Frames, a new conceptual formalism that aims to model the pragmatic frames in which people project social biases and stereotypes on others. In addition, we introduce the Social Bias Inference Corpus, to support large-scale modelling and evaluation with 100k structured annotations of social media posts, covering over 26k implications about a thousand demographic groups. We then establish baseline approaches that learn to recover Social Bias Frames from unstructured text. We find that while state-of-the-art neural models are effective at high-level categorization of whether a given statement projects unwanted social bias (86 more detailed explanations by accurately decoding out Social Bias Frames. Our study motivates future research that combines structured pragmatic inference with commonsense reasoning on social implications.


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