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  1. Lee, Kyoung Mu (Ed.)
    A recent paper claims that a newly proposed method classifies EEG data recorded from subjects viewing ImageNet stimuli better than two prior methods. However, the analysis used to support that claim is based on confounded data. We repeat the analysis on a large new dataset that is free from that confound. Training and testing on aggregated supertrials derived by summing trials demonstrates that the two prior methods achieve statistically significant above-chance accuracy while the newly proposed method does not. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Perlman, Marcus (Ed.)
    Longstanding cross-linguistic work on event representations in spoken languages have argued for a robust mapping between an event’s underlying representation and its syntactic encoding, such that–for example–the agent of an event is most frequently mapped to subject position. In the same vein, sign languages have long been claimed to construct signs that visually represent their meaning, i.e., signs that are iconic. Experimental research on linguistic parameters such as plurality and aspect has recently shown some of them to be visually universal in sign, i.e. recognized by non-signers as well as signers, and have identified specific visual cues that achieve this mapping. However, little is known about what makes action representations in sign language iconic, or whether and how the mapping of underlying event representations to syntactic encoding is visually apparent in the form of a verb sign. To this end, we asked what visual cues non-signers may use in evaluating transitivity (i.e., the number of entities involved in an action). To do this, we correlated non-signer judgments about transitivity of verb signs from American Sign Language (ASL) with phonological characteristics of these signs. We found that non-signers did not accurately guess the transitivity of the signs, but that non-signer transitivity judgments can nevertheless be predicted from the signs’ visual characteristics. Further, non-signers cue in on just those features that code event representations across sign languages, despite interpreting them differently. This suggests the existence of visual biases that underlie detection of linguistic categories, such as transitivity, which may uncouple from underlying conceptual representations over time in mature sign languages due to lexicalization processes. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Prior work in natural-language-driven navigation demonstrates success in systems deployed in synthetic environments or applied to large datasets, both real and synthetic. However, there is an absence of such frameworks being deployed and rigorously tested in real environments, unknown a priori. In this paper, we present a novel framework that uses spoken dialogue with a real person to interpret a set of navigational instructions into a plan and subsequently execute that plan in a novel, unknown, indoor environment. This framework is implemented on a real robot and its performance is evaluated in 39 trials across 3 novel test-building environments. We also demonstrate that our approach outperforms three prior vision-and-language navigation methods in this same environment. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    New results suggest strong limits to the feasibility of object classification from human brain activity evoked by image stimuli, as measured through EEG. Considerable prior work suffers from a confound between the stimulus class and the time since the start of the experiment. A prior attempt to avoid this confound using randomized trials was unable to achieve results above chance in a statistically significant fashion when the data sets were of the same size as the original experiments. Here, we attempt object classification from EEG using an array of methods that are representative of the state-of-the-art, with a far larger (20x) dataset of randomized EEG trials, 1,000 stimulus presentations of each of forty classes, all from a single subject. To our knowledge, this is the largest such EEG data-collection effort from a single subject and is at the bounds of feasibility. We obtain classification accuracy that is marginally above chance and above chance in a statistically significant fashion, and further assess how accuracy depends on the classifier used, the amount of training data used, and the number of classes. Reaching the limits of data collection with only marginally above-chance performance suggests that the prevailing literature substantially exaggerates the feasibility of object classification from EEG. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    A recent paper [1] claims to classify brain processing evoked in subjects watching ImageNet stimuli as measured with EEG and to employ a representation derived from this processing to construct a novel object classifier. That paper, together with a series of subsequent papers [2] , [3] , [4] , [5] , [6] , [7] , [8] , claims to achieve successful results on a wide variety of computer-vision tasks, including object classification, transfer learning, and generation of images depicting human perception and thought using brain-derived representations measured through EEG. Our novel experiments and analyses demonstrate that their results crucially depend on the block design that they employ, where all stimuli of a given class are presented together, and fail with a rapid-event design, where stimuli of different classes are randomly intermixed. The block design leads to classification of arbitrary brain states based on block-level temporal correlations that are known to exist in all EEG data, rather than stimulus-related activity. Because every trial in their test sets comes from the same block as many trials in the corresponding training sets, their block design thus leads to classifying arbitrary temporal artifacts of the data instead of stimulus-related activity. This invalidates all subsequent analyses performed on this data in multiple published papers and calls into question all of the reported results. We further show that a novel object classifier constructed with a random codebook performs as well as or better than a novel object classifier constructed with the representation extracted from EEG data, suggesting that the performance of their classifier constructed with a representation extracted from EEG data does not benefit from the brain-derived representation. Together, our results illustrate the far-reaching implications of the temporal autocorrelations that exist in all neuroimaging data for classification experiments. Further, our results calibrate the underlying difficulty of the tasks involved and caution against overly optimistic, but incorrect, claims to the contrary. 
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  6. Abstract Automatic differentiation (AD) is a technique for augmenting computer programs to compute derivatives. The essence of AD in its forward accumulation mode is to attach perturbations to each number, and propagate these through the computation by overloading the arithmetic operators. When derivatives are nested, the distinct derivative calculations, and their associated perturbations, must be distinguished. This is typically accomplished by creating a unique tag for each derivative calculation and tagging the perturbations. We exhibit a subtle bug, present in fielded implementations which support derivatives of higher-order functions, in which perturbations are confused despite the tagging machinery, leading to incorrect results. The essence of the bug is as follows: a unique tag is needed for each derivative calculation, but in existing implementations unique tags are created when taking the derivative of a function at a point. When taking derivatives of higher-order functions, these need not correspond! We exhibit a simple example: a higher-order function f whose derivative at a point x , namely f ′( x ), is itself a function which calculates a derivative. This situation arises naturally when taking derivatives of curried functions. Two potential solutions are presented, and their deficiencies discussed. One uses eta expansion to delay the creation of fresh tags in order to put them into one-to-one correspondence with derivative calculations. The other wraps outputs of derivative operators with tag substitution machinery. Both solutions seem very difficult to implement without violating the desirable complexity guarantees of forward AD. 
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