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156
Word Learning as Bayesian Inference
 In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
, 2000
"... The authors present a Bayesian framework for understanding how adults and children learn the meanings of words. The theory explains how learners can generalize meaningfully from just one or a few positive examples of a novel word’s referents, by making rational inductive inferences that integrate pr ..."
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Cited by 175 (33 self)
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The authors present a Bayesian framework for understanding how adults and children learn the meanings of words. The theory explains how learners can generalize meaningfully from just one or a few positive examples of a novel word’s referents, by making rational inductive inferences that integrate prior knowledge about plausible word meanings with the statistical structure of the observed examples. The theory addresses shortcomings of the two best known approaches to modeling word learning, based on deductive hypothesis elimination and associative learning. Three experiments with adults and children test the Bayesian account’s predictions in the context of learning words for object categories at multiple levels of a taxonomic hierarchy. Results provide strong support for the Bayesian account over competing accounts, in terms of both quantitative model fits and the ability to explain important qualitative phenomena. Several extensions of the basic theory are discussed, illustrating the broader potential for Bayesian models of word learning.
Theorybased Bayesian models of inductive learning and reasoning
 Trends in Cognitive Sciences
, 2006
"... Theorybased Bayesian models of inductive reasoning 2 Theorybased Bayesian models of inductive reasoning ..."
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Cited by 151 (26 self)
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Theorybased Bayesian models of inductive reasoning 2 Theorybased Bayesian models of inductive reasoning
A rational analysis of rulebased concept learning
 In CogSci
, 2007
"... Address correspondence to ..."
Rational approximations to rational models: Alternative algorithms for category learning
"... Rational models of cognition typically consider the abstract computational problems posed by the environment, assuming that people are capable of optimally solving those problems. This differs from more traditional formal models of cognition, which focus on the psychological processes responsible fo ..."
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Cited by 61 (19 self)
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Rational models of cognition typically consider the abstract computational problems posed by the environment, assuming that people are capable of optimally solving those problems. This differs from more traditional formal models of cognition, which focus on the psychological processes responsible for behavior. A basic challenge for rational models is thus explaining how optimal solutions can be approximated by psychological processes. We outline a general strategy for answering this question, namely to explore the psychological plausibility of approximation algorithms developed in computer science and statistics. In particular, we argue that Monte Carlo methods provide a source of “rational process models” that connect optimal solutions to psychological processes. We support this argument through a detailed example, applying this approach to Anderson’s (1990, 1991) Rational Model of Categorization (RMC), which involves a particularly challenging computational problem. Drawing on a connection between the RMC and ideas from nonparametric Bayesian statistics, we propose two alternative algorithms for approximate inference in this model. The algorithms we consider include Gibbs sampling, a procedure
Theorybased causal induction
 In
, 2003
"... Inducing causal relationships from observations is a classic problem in scientific inference, statistics, and machine learning. It is also a central part of human learning, and a task that people perform remarkably well given its notorious difficulties. People can learn causal structure in various s ..."
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Cited by 56 (19 self)
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Inducing causal relationships from observations is a classic problem in scientific inference, statistics, and machine learning. It is also a central part of human learning, and a task that people perform remarkably well given its notorious difficulties. People can learn causal structure in various settings, from diverse forms of data: observations of the cooccurrence frequencies between causes and effects, interactions between physical objects, or patterns of spatial or temporal coincidence. These different modes of learning are typically thought of as distinct psychological processes and are rarely studied together, but at heart they present the same inductive challenge—identifying the unobservable mechanisms that generate observable relations between variables, objects, or events, given only sparse and limited data. We present a computationallevel analysis of this inductive problem and a framework for its solution, which allows us to model all these forms of causal learning in a common language. In this framework, causal induction is the product of domaingeneral statistical inference guided by domainspecific prior knowledge, in the form of an abstract causal theory. We identify 3 key aspects of abstract prior knowledge—the ontology of entities, properties, and relations that organizes a domain; the plausibility of specific causal relationships; and the functional form of those relationships—and show how they provide the constraints that people need to induce useful causal models from sparse data.
Bayesian models of cognition
"... For over 200 years, philosophers and mathematicians have been using probability theory to describe human cognition. While the theory of probabilities was first developed as a means of analyzing games of chance, it quickly took on a larger and deeper significance as a formal account of how rational a ..."
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Cited by 54 (2 self)
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For over 200 years, philosophers and mathematicians have been using probability theory to describe human cognition. While the theory of probabilities was first developed as a means of analyzing games of chance, it quickly took on a larger and deeper significance as a formal account of how rational agents should reason in situations of uncertainty
Representing causation
 Journal of Experiment Psychology: General
, 2007
"... The dynamics model, which is based on L. Talmy’s (1988) theory of force dynamics, characterizes causation as a pattern of forces and a position vector. In contrast to counterfactual and probabilistic models, the dynamics model naturally distinguishes between different causerelated concepts and expl ..."
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Cited by 42 (5 self)
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The dynamics model, which is based on L. Talmy’s (1988) theory of force dynamics, characterizes causation as a pattern of forces and a position vector. In contrast to counterfactual and probabilistic models, the dynamics model naturally distinguishes between different causerelated concepts and explains the induction of causal relationships from single observations. Support for the model is provided in experiments in which participants categorized 3D animations of realistically rendered objects with trajectories that were wholly determined by the force vectors entered into a physics simulator. Experiments 1–3 showed that causal judgments are based on several forces, not just one. Experiment 4 demonstrated that people compute the resultant of forces using a qualitative decision rule. Experiments 5 and 6 showed that a dynamics approach extends to the representation of social causation. Implications for the relationship between causation and time are discussed.
One and done? Optimal decisions from very few samples
 Cognitive Science Society
, 2009
"... In many situations human behavior approximates that of a Bayesian ideal observer, suggesting that, at some level, cognition can be described as Bayesian inference. However, a number of findings have highlighted an intriguing mismatch between human behavior and that predicted by Bayesian inference: p ..."
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Cited by 42 (13 self)
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In many situations human behavior approximates that of a Bayesian ideal observer, suggesting that, at some level, cognition can be described as Bayesian inference. However, a number of findings have highlighted an intriguing mismatch between human behavior and that predicted by Bayesian inference: people often appear to make judgments based on a few samples from a probability distribution, rather than the full distribution. Although samplebased approximations are a common implementation of Bayesian inference, the very limited number of samples used by humans seems to be insufficient to approximate the required probability distributions. Here we consider this discrepancy in the broader framework of statistical decision theory, and ask: if people were making decisions based on samples, but samples were costly, how many samples should people use? We find that under reasonable assumptions about how long it takes to produce a sample, locally suboptimal decisions based on few samples are globally optimal. These results reconcile a large body of work showing sampling, or probabilitymatching, behavior with the hypothesis that human cognition is well described as Bayesian inference, and suggest promising future directions for studies of resourceconstrained cognition.
Bayesian generic priors for causal learning
 Psychological Review
, 2008
"... The article presents a Bayesian model of causal learning that incorporates generic priors—systematic assumptions about abstract properties of a system of cause–effect relations. The proposed generic priors for causal learning favor sparse and strong (SS) causes—causes that are few in number and high ..."
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Cited by 34 (5 self)
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The article presents a Bayesian model of causal learning that incorporates generic priors—systematic assumptions about abstract properties of a system of cause–effect relations. The proposed generic priors for causal learning favor sparse and strong (SS) causes—causes that are few in number and high in their individual powers to produce or prevent effects. The SS power model couples these generic priors with a causal generating function based on the assumption that unobservable causal influences on an effect operate independently (P. W. Cheng, 1997). The authors tested this and other Bayesian models, as well as leading nonnormative models, by fitting multiple data sets in which several parameters were varied parametrically across multiple types of judgments. The SS power model accounted for data concerning judgments of both causal strength and causal structure (whether a causal link exists). The model explains why human judgments of causal structure (relative to a Bayesian model lacking these generic priors) are influenced more by causal power and the base rate of the effect and less by sample size. Broader implications of the Bayesian framework for human learning are discussed.
A Probabilistic Model of Syntactic and Semantic Acquisition from ChildDirected Utterances and their Meanings
"... This paper presents an incremental probabilistic learner that models the acquistion of syntax and semantics from a corpus of childdirected utterances paired with possible representations of their meanings. These meaning representations approximate the contextual input available to the child; they d ..."
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Cited by 29 (6 self)
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This paper presents an incremental probabilistic learner that models the acquistion of syntax and semantics from a corpus of childdirected utterances paired with possible representations of their meanings. These meaning representations approximate the contextual input available to the child; they do not specify the meanings of individual words or syntactic derivations. The learner then has to infer the meanings and syntactic properties of the words in the input along with a parsing model. We use the CCG grammatical framework and train a nonparametric Bayesian model of parse structure with online variational Bayesian expectation maximization. When tested on utterances from the CHILDES corpus, our learner outperforms a stateoftheart semantic parser. In addition, it models such aspects of child acquisition as “fast mapping,” while also countering previous criticisms of statistical syntactic learners. 1