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Context De-Confounded Emotion Recognition

Dingkang Yang · Zhaoyu Chen · Yuzheng Wang · Shunli Wang · Mingcheng Li · Siao Liu · Xiao Zhao · Shuai Huang · Zhiyan Dong · Peng Zhai · Lihua Zhang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 241


Context-Aware Emotion Recognition (CAER) is a crucial and challenging task that aims to perceive the emotional states of the target person with contextual information. Recent approaches invariably focus on designing sophisticated architectures or mechanisms to extract seemingly meaningful representations from subjects and contexts. However, a long-overlooked issue is that a context bias in existing datasets leads to a significantly unbalanced distribution of emotional states among different context scenarios. Concretely, the harmful bias is a confounder that misleads existing models to learn spurious correlations based on conventional likelihood estimation, significantly limiting the models’ performance. To tackle the issue, this paper provides a causality-based perspective to disentangle the models from the impact of such bias, and formulate the causalities among variables in the CAER task via a tailored causal graph. Then, we propose a Contextual Causal Intervention Module (CCIM) based on the backdoor adjustment to de-confound the confounder and exploit the true causal effect for model training. CCIM is plug-in and model-agnostic, which improves diverse state-of-the-art approaches by considerable margins. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our CCIM and the significance of causal insight.

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