Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):471-485 (1991)

Abstract
Can the output of human cognition be predicted from the assumption that it is an optimal response to the information-processing demands of the environment? A methodology called rational analysis is described for deriving predictions about cognitive phenomena using optimization assumptions. The predictions flow from the statistical structure of the environment and not the assumed structure of the mind. Bayesian inference is used, assuming that people start with a weak prior model of the world which they integrate with experience to develop stronger models of specific aspects of the world. Cognitive performance maximizes the difference between the expected gain and cost of mental effort. Memory performance can be predicted on the assumption that retrieval seeks a maximal trade-off between the probability of finding the relevant memories and the effort required to do so; in categorization performance there is a similar trade-off between accuracy in predicting object features and the cost of hypothesis formation; in casual inference the trade-off is between accuracy in predicting future events and the cost of hypothesis formation; and in problem solving it is between the probability of achieving goals and the cost of both external and mental problem-solving search. The implemention of these rational prescriptions in neurally plausible architecture is also discussed.
Keywords Bayes   categorization   causal inference   computation   memory   optimality   problem solving   rationality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0140525x00070801
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,355
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.

View all 85 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Literal Perceptual Inference.Alex Kiefer - 2017 - In Thomas Metzinger & Wanja Wiese (eds.), Philosophy and predictive processing. Frankfurt, Germany:
The Epistemology of Forgetting.Kourken Michaelian - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):399-424.

View all 78 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Cognitive Shortcuts in Causal Inference.Philip M. Fernbach & Bob Rehder - 2013 - Argument and Computation 4 (1):64 - 88.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-20

Total views
302 ( #35,737 of 2,519,622 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,756 of 2,519,622 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes