The Curious Case of Hallucinatory (Un)answerability: Finding Truths in the Hidden States of Over-Confident Large Language Models

Aviv Slobodkin, Omer Goldman, Avi Caciularu, Ido Dagan, Shauli Ravfogel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Large language models (LLMs) have been shown to possess impressive capabilities, while also raising crucial concerns about the faithfulness of their responses. A primary issue arising in this context is the management of (un)answerable queries by LLMs, which often results in hallucinatory behavior due to overconfidence. In this paper, we explore the behavior of LLMs when presented with (un)answerable queries. We ask: do models represent the fact that the question is (un)answerable when generating a hallucinatory answer? Our results show strong indications that such models encode the answerability of an input query, with the representation of the first decoded token often being a strong indicator. These findings shed new light on the spatial organization within the latent representations of LLMs, unveiling previously unexplored facets of these models. Moreover, they pave the way for the development of improved decoding techniques with better adherence to factual generation, particularly in scenarios where query (un)answerability is a concern.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEMNLP 2023 - 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings
EditorsHouda Bouamor, Juan Pino, Kalika Bali
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages3607-3625
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9798891760608
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2023 - Hybrid, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 6 Dec 202310 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameEMNLP 2023 - 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Proceedings

Conference

Conference2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2023
Country/TerritorySingapore
CityHybrid, Singapore
Period6/12/2310/12/23

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2023 Association for Computational Linguistics.

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