Max Planck Institute, Germany
Wednesday 10 February 2010
Seminar Room B10 (Basement)
Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR
Marr, Memory, and Heuristics
In the context of David Marr's functional approach to understanding cognition, I describe a modeling and empirical effort that bridges two research programs grounded in an appreciation of the adaptive value of human cognition: The program on fast and frugal heuristics explores cognitive processes that use limited information to make effective decisions; and the ACT-R research program that strives for a unified theory of cognition. This work illustrates how a memory system that is tuned to automatically retrieve information can be exploited for a different purpose, namely making inferences about real objects in the world, based on meta-cognitive judgments about how the memory system responds to stimuli. This work provides a good point of departure to discuss the kinds of cognition that yield to a rational analysis and those that might not.