Chain-of-Verification Reduces Hallucination in Large Language Models

Chain-of-Verification Reduces Hallucination in Large Language Models
Do not index
Do not index
Original Paper
Generation of plausible yet incorrect factual information, termed hallucination, is an unsolved issue in large language models. We study the ability of language models to deliberate on the responses they give in order to correct their mistakes. We develop the Chain-of-Verification (CoVe) method whereby the model first (i) drafts an initial response; then (ii) plans verification questions to fact-check its draft; (iii) answers those questions independently so the answers are not biased by other responses; and (iv) generates its final verified response. In experiments, we show CoVe decreases hallucinations across a variety of tasks, from list-based questions from Wikidata, closed book MultiSpanQA and longform text generation.

Summary Notes

Unpacking the Hallucination Problem in Large Language Models (LLMs) and the Chain-of-Verification Solution

Large Language Models (LLMs) are at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, offering impressive capabilities in understanding and generating text that mimics human conversation. These models are invaluable for a variety of applications, from automating customer service to generating content. Yet, as their use becomes more widespread, a significant challenge emerges: ensuring the information they provide is not only compelling but factually accurate. A common issue is "hallucination," where models produce plausible but incorrect or baseless information, posing a risk to reliability and trust.

Understanding Hallucination in LLMs

Hallucination in LLMs occurs when these models generate content that, despite being coherent and fitting the context, is factually wrong. This is problematic, especially where precision and credibility are crucial. For professionals using LLMs, it's vital to minimize misinformation to prevent negative consequences like misguided decisions or diminished user confidence.

The Chain-of-Verification (CoVe) Approach

To tackle the hallucination issue, the Chain-of-Verification (CoVe) method, developed by Meta AI and ETH Zurich, offers a structured process to enhance the factual accuracy of LLM outputs. It involves several steps:
  • Drafting a Response: Initially, the model creates a response based on the input given.
  • Planning for Verification: It then identifies which parts of the response need factual verification.
  • Independent Verification: The model independently verifies these facts to ensure they're supported by evidence.
  • Generating a Final Response: With verified facts, the model produces a final, accurate response.
This approach significantly lowers the rate of hallucinations in tasks ranging from answering list-based questions to generating long-form texts.

Implementing CoVe: Tips for AI Engineers

For AI engineers aiming to use CoVe, consider the following:
  • Choose the Right Model: The success of CoVe depends on the underlying LLM's abilities in comprehension and generation.
  • Focus on Data Preparation: Prioritize verifying facts or statements critical to the response's overall accuracy.
  • Explore Verification Strategies: Test various fact-checking methods, including external databases or other LLMs, to enhance verification.
  • Iterate and Refine: Continuously improve the verification questions and strategies based on the model's output accuracy.


The Chain-of-Verification method marks a significant advancement in resolving the hallucination challenge in LLMs. By enabling models to verify their outputs, CoVe ensures the generated information is not only plausible but factually correct. For AI engineers, adopting CoVe can boost the reliability and trustworthiness of LLM applications, pushing the boundaries of what these AI systems can achieve. As AI technology progresses, methods like CoVe will be crucial in developing accurate and dependable language models, steering the future of AI towards more reliable and factual content generation.

Athina can help. Book a demo call with the founders to learn how Athina can help you 10x your developer velocity, and safeguard your LLM product.

Want to build a reliable GenAI product?

Book a demo