Computational Rationality: Linking Mechanism and Behavior Through Bounded Utility Maximization

Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (2):279-311 (2014)

Satinder Singh
Fordham University
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. The 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 definition of rational action. Theories are specified as optimal program problems, defined 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
Keywords Cognitive modeling  Bounded rationality  Bounded optimality  Rationality  Utility maximization  Rational analysis  Cognitive architecture
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DOI 10.1111/tops.12086
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References found in this work BETA

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Unified Theories of Cognition.Allen Newell - 1990 - Harvard University Press.

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