It’s All in the Heads: Using Attention Heads as a Baseline for Cross-Lingual Transfer in Commonsense Reasoning

Commonsense reasoning is one of the key problems in natural language processing, but the relative scarcity of labeled data holds back the progress for languages other than English. Pretrained cross-lingual models are a source of powerful language-agnostic representations, yet their inherent reasoning capabilities are still actively studied. In this work, we design a simple approach to commonsense reasoning which trains a linear classifier with weights of multi-head attention as features. To evaluate this approach, we create a multilingual Winograd Schema corpus by processing several datasets from prior work within a standardized pipeline and measure cross-lingual generalization ability in terms of out-of-sample performance. The method performs competitively with recent supervised and unsupervised approaches for commonsense reasoning, even when applied to other languages in a zero-shot manner. Also, we demonstrate that most of the performance is given by the same small subset of attention heads for all studied languages, which provides evidence of universal reasoning capabilities in multilingual encoders.