Is a Single-Bladed Knife Enough to Dissect Human Cognition? Commentary on Griffiths et al.
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
2008 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 32, Issue 1, pages 155–161, January-February 2008
How to Cite
Fu, W.-T. (2008), Is a Single-Bladed Knife Enough to Dissect Human Cognition? Commentary on Griffiths et al. Cognitive Science, 32: 155–161. doi: 10.1080/03640210701802113
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Bounded rationality;
- Cognitive modeling;
- Psychological representations
Griffiths, Christian, and Kalish (this issue) present an iterative-learning paradigm applying a Bayesian model to understand inductive biases in categorization. The authors argue that the paradigm is useful as an exploratory tool to understand inductive biases in situations where little is known about the task. It is argued that a theory developed only at the computational level is much like a single-bladed knife that is only useful in highly idealized situations. To be useful as a general tool that cuts through the complex fabric of cognition, we need at least two-bladed scissors that combine both computational and psychological constraints to characterize human behavior. To temper its sometimes expansive claims, it is time to show what a Bayesian model cannot explain. Insight as to how human reality may differ from the Bayesian predictions may shed more light on human cognition than the simpler focus on what the Bayesian approach can explain. There remains much to be done in terms of integrating Bayesian approaches and other approaches in modeling human cognition.