Published July 8, 2018 | Version Accepted pre-print
Conference paper Open

Social Cues, Social Biases: Stereotypes in Annotations on People Images

  • 1. Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Open University of Cyprus and Research Centre on Interactive Media Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies Nicosia, CYPRUS


Human computation is often subject to systematic biases. We consider the case of linguistic biases and their consequences
for the words that crowd workers use to describe people images in an annotation task. Social psychologists explain that when describing others, the subconscious perpetuation of stereotypes is inevitable, as we describe stereotype-congruent people and/or in-group members more abstractly than others. In an MTurk experiment we show evidence of these biases, which are exacerbated when an image’s “popular tags” are displayed, a common feature used to provide social information to workers. Underscoring recent calls for a deeper examination of the role of training data quality in algorithmic biases, results suggest that it is rather easy to sway human judgment.


This work has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 739578 and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development. Copyright © 2018, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence



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RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission


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