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Are Vision Transformers Robust to Spurious Correlations ?
Soumya Suvra Ghosal · Yifei Ming · Sharon Li
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=QmlDT3UQc-x »

Deep neural networks may be susceptible to learning spurious correlations that hold on average but not in atypical test samples. As with the recent emergence of vision transformer (ViT) models, it remains underexplored how spurious correlations are manifested in such architectures. In this paper, we systematically investigate the robustness of vision transformers to spurious correlations on three challenging benchmark datasets and compare their performance with popular CNNs. Our study reveals that when pre-trained on a sufficiently large dataset, ViT models are more robust to spurious correlations than CNNs. Key to their success is the ability to generalize better from the examples where spurious correlations do not hold.

Author Information

Soumya Suvra Ghosal (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Yifei Ming (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Sharon Li (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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