Large Language Models are Better Reasoners with Self-Verification

Yixuan Weng, Minjun Zhu, Fei Xia, Bin Li, Shizhu He, Kang Liu, Jun Zhao

Recently, with the chain of thought (CoT) prompting, large language models (LLMs), e.g., GPT-3, have shown strong reasoning ability in several natural language processing tasks such as arithmetic, commonsense, and logical reasoning. However, LLMs with CoT require multi-step prompting and multi-token prediction, which is highly sensitive to individual mistakes and vulnerable to error accumulation. The above issues make the LLMs need the ability to verify the answers. In fact, after inferring conclusions in some thinking decision tasks, people often check them by re-verifying steps to avoid some mistakes. In this paper, we propose and prove that LLMs also have similar self-verification abilities. We take the conclusion obtained by CoT as one of the conditions for solving the original problem. By taking turns masking the original conditions and predicting their results, we calculate an explainable answer verification score based on whether the re-predicted conditions are correct. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can improve the reasoning performance on various arithmetic, commonsense, and logical reasoning datasets.

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