Confirmation in the Cognitive Sciences: The Problematic Case of Bayesian Models [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 21 (3):389-410 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Bayesian models of human learning are becoming increasingly popular in cognitive science. We argue that their purported confirmation largely relies on a methodology that depends on premises that are inconsistent with the claim that people are Bayesian about learning and inference. Bayesian models in cognitive science derive their appeal from their normative claim that the modeled inference is in some sense rational. Standard accounts of the rationality of Bayesian inference imply predictions that an agent selects the option that maximizes the posterior expected utility. Experimental confirmation of the models, however, has been claimed because of groups of agents that probability match the posterior. Probability matching only constitutes support for the Bayesian claim if additional unobvious and untested (but testable) assumptions are invoked. The alternative strategy of weakening the underlying notion of rationality no longer distinguishes the Bayesian model uniquely. A new account of rationality—either for inference or for decision-making—is required to successfully confirm Bayesian models in cognitive science.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,685

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Bayes in the Brain—On Bayesian Modelling in Neuroscience.Matteo Colombo & Peggy Seriès - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):697-723.
Bayesian models and simulations in cognitive science.Giuseppe Boccignone & Roberto Cordeschi - 2007 - Workshop Models and Simulations 2, Tillburg, NL.
The Wason task(s) and the paradox of confirmation.Branden Fitelson - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):207-241.
Confirmational holism and bayesian epistemology.David Christensen - 1992 - Philosophy of Science 59 (4):540-557.
When can non‐commutative statistical inference be Bayesian?Miklós Rédei - 1992 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 6 (2):129-132.
Bayesian probability.Patrick Maher - 2010 - Synthese 172 (1):119 - 127.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-05-19

Downloads
194 (#92,281)

6 months
10 (#133,704)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Frederick Eberhardt
California Institute of Technology
David Danks
University of California, San Diego

References found in this work

Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays.Frank Plumpton Ramsey - 1925 - London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Edited by R. B. Braithwaite.
Truth and probability.Frank Ramsey - 1926 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 52-94.

View all 44 references / Add more references