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Analyzing human feature learning as nonparametric Bayesian inference
Joseph L Austerweil · Tom Griffiths

Tue Dec 9th 09:57 -- 09:58 AM @ None

Almost all successful machine learning algorithms and cognitive models require powerful representations capturing the features that are relevant to a particular problem. We draw on recent work in nonparametric Bayesian statistics to define a rational model of human feature learning that forms a featural representation from raw sensory data without pre-specifying the number of features. By comparing how the human perceptual system and our rational model use distributional and category information to infer feature representations, we seek to identify some of the forces that govern the process by which people separate and combine sensory primitives to form features.

Author Information

Joe L Austerweil (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

As a computational cognitive psychologist, my research program explores questions at the intersection of perception and higher-level cognition. I use recent advances in statistics and computer science to formulate ideal learner models to see how they solve these problems and then test the model predictions using traditional behavioral experimentation. Ideal learner models help us understand the knowledge people use to solve problems because such knowledge must be made explicit for the ideal learner model to successfully produce human behavior. This method yields novel machine learning methods and leads to the discovery of new psychological principles.

Tom Griffiths (Princeton)

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