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Computational Rationality: Linking Mechanism and Behavior �rough Bounded Utility Maximization to appear in topics in cognitive science

By Richard L. Lewis, Andrew Howes and Satinder Singh


We propose a framework for including information processing bounds in rational analyses. It is an application of bounded optimality (Russell & Subramanian, 1995) to the challenges of developing theories of mechanism and behavior. �e framework is based on the idea that behaviors are generated by cognitive mechanisms that are adapted to the structure of not only the environment, but also the mind and brain itself. We call the framework computational rationality to emphasize the incorporation of computational mechanism into the de�nition of rational action. �eories are speci�ed as optimal program problems, de�ned by an adaptation environment, a bounded machine, and a utility function. Such theories yield different classes of explanation, depending on the extent to which they emphasize adaptation to bounds, and adaptation to some ecology that differs from the immediate local environment. We illustrate this variation with examples from three domains: visual attention in a linguistic task, manual response ordering, and reasoning. We explore the relation of this framework to existing “levels ” approaches to explanation, and to other optimality-based modeling approaches. 1 Introduction: Rationa

Year: 2013
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