SymSys100AreHumansRational2011

SymSys100AreHumansRational2011 - Are Humans Rational SymSys...

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Are Humans Rational? SymSys 100 April 14, 2011
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Anderson’s Rational Approach to Cognition • What underlies the regularities that we see in human behavior? • One answer: – Because of characteristics of the mechanisms of human thought • Another answer: – Because the regularities represent the optimal response to the characteristics of the environment
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Example: Forgetting • Why do we forget? • Is it because: – our memory is imperfect • Or is it because: – it costs us something to keep information around and… – Information from a long time ago is less likely to be useful than information we’ve been exposed to recently. • If the latter, then we might predict: – That the form of the forgetting function should match the form of the relevance function
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Power Law of Forgetting (Anderson and Schooler, 1991) b AT P ± ) log( ) log( ) log( T b A P ± or:
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Which topic is most likely to be in tomorrow’s paper? Two headlines from yesterday: Man arrested in Times Square bomb plot Rondo’s 19 assists help Celtics beat Cleveland Two headlines from this morning’s paper: House passes compromise budget Bill Bonds convicted of obstruction, not perjury
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Power Law of Recurrence • Just like memory, recurrence of topics in the New York times obeys the power law. • Maybe memory obeys the power law to conform to the structure of experience, not because of features of the architecture of memory.
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Rational or Irrational? The card selection task “If a card has an even number on one side, then it has a vowel on the other” Here are 4 cards, with a number on one side, and a letter on the other. Which cards should you should turn over to see if any of the cards violates the rule: 3 8 A N “If you are drinking alcohol, then you must be over 18”. Here are 4 cards, with the drink a student is drinking on one side, and their age on the other. Which cards should you turn over to see if any of the students are breaking the rule: coke beer 22 17
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Explanations of Card Selection Task Results – From “A rational analysis of the selection task as optimal data
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SymSys100AreHumansRational2011 - Are Humans Rational SymSys...

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