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Colloquium - Mozer

Rational Models of Cognitive Control
Department of Computer Science

Human behavior is remarkably flexible. An individual who drives the same route each day easily adjusts for a traffic jam or to pick up groceries. Any theory of human cognition must explain not only routine behavior, but how behavior is flexibly modulated by the current environment and goals. In this talk, we discuss this ability, often referred to as "cognitive control". We focus on "rational models", which argue that cognitive control optimizes performance to the statistical structure of the environment, subject to limitations on current knowledge or processing hardware. We describe how characteristics of the environment and task domain can be estimated from experience, and how these characteristics can then be exploited to make behavior more efficient. We validate our theories via simulation studies that model human data from tasks involving visual search(locating a visual target in a cluttered display).

Sponsored by the Department of Applied Mathematics.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)