A Causal Debiasing Framework for Unsupervised Salient Object Detection


  • Xiangru Lin Sun Yat-sen University The University of Hong Kong
  • Ziyi Wu Sun Yat-sen University
  • Guanqi Chen The University of Hong Kong
  • Guanbin Li Sun Yat-sen University
  • Yizhou Yu The University of Hong Kong Deepwise AI Lab




Computer Vision (CV)


Unsupervised Salient Object Detection (USOD) is a promising yet challenging task that aims to learn a salient object detection model without any ground-truth labels. Self-supervised learning based methods have achieved remarkable success recently and have become the dominant approach in USOD. However, we observed that two distribution biases of salient objects limit further performance improvement of the USOD methods, namely, contrast distribution bias and spatial distribution bias. Concretely, contrast distribution bias is essentially a confounder that makes images with similar high-level semantic contrast and/or low-level visual appearance contrast spuriously dependent, thus forming data-rich contrast clusters and leading the training process biased towards the data-rich contrast clusters in the data. Spatial distribution bias means that the position distribution of all salient objects in a dataset is concentrated on the center of the image plane, which could be harmful to off-center objects prediction. This paper proposes a causal based debiasing framework to disentangle the model from the impact of such biases. Specifically, we use causal intervention to perform de-confounded model training to minimize the contrast distribution bias and propose an image-level weighting strategy that softly weights each image's importance according to the spatial distribution bias map. Extensive experiments on 6 benchmark datasets show that our method significantly outperforms previous unsupervised state-of-the-art methods and even surpasses some of the supervised methods, demonstrating our debiasing framework's effectiveness.




How to Cite

Lin, X., Wu, Z., Chen, G., Li, G., & Yu, Y. (2022). A Causal Debiasing Framework for Unsupervised Salient Object Detection. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(2), 1610-1619. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v36i2.20052



AAAI Technical Track on Computer Vision II