Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Neural Language of Thought Models

Yi-Fu Wu · Minseung Lee · Sungjin Ahn

Halle B #71
[ ]
Tue 7 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


The Language of Thought Hypothesis suggests that human cognition operates on a structured, language-like system of mental representations. While neural language models can naturally benefit from the compositional structure inherently and explicitly expressed in language data, learning such representations from non-linguistic general observations, like images, remains a challenge. In this work, we introduce the Neural Language of Thought Model (NLoTM), a novel approach for unsupervised learning of LoTH-inspired representation and generation. NLoTM comprises two key components: (1) the Semantic Vector-Quantized Variational Autoencoder, which learns hierarchical, composable discrete representations aligned with objects and their properties, and (2) the Autoregressive LoT Prior, an autoregressive transformer that learns to generate semantic concept tokens compositionally, capturing the underlying data distribution. We evaluate NLoTM on several 2D and 3D image datasets, demonstrating superior performance in downstream tasks, out-of-distribution generalization, and image generation quality compared to patch-based VQ-VAE and continuous object-centric representations. Our work presents a significant step towards creating neural networks exhibiting more human-like understanding by developing LoT-like representations and offers insights into the intersection of cognitive science and machine learning.

Chat is not available.