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A tutorial introduction to the minimum description length principle
 in Advances in Minimum Description Length: Theory and Applications. 2005
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Evidence accumulation in decision making: Unifying the “take the best” and the “rational” models
 Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
, 2004
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Global model analysis by parameter space partitioning
 Psychological Review
, 2006
"... To model behavior, scientists need to know how models behave. This means learning what other behaviors a model can produce besides the one generated by participants in an experiment. This is a difficult problem because of the complexity of psychological models (e.g., their many parameters) and becau ..."
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Cited by 37 (6 self)
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To model behavior, scientists need to know how models behave. This means learning what other behaviors a model can produce besides the one generated by participants in an experiment. This is a difficult problem because of the complexity of psychological models (e.g., their many parameters) and because the behavioral precision of models (e.g., intervalscale performance) often mismatches their testable precision in experiments, where qualitative, ordinal predictions are the norm. Parameter space partitioning is a solution that evaluates model performance at a qualitative level. There exists a partition on the model’s parameter space that divides it into regions that correspond to each data pattern. Three application examples demonstrate its potential and versatility for studying the global behavior of psychological models.
Assessing model mimicry using the parametric bootstrap
 Journal of Mathematical Psychology
, 2004
"... We present a general sampling procedure to quantify model mimicry, defined as the ability of a model to account for data generated by a competing model. This sampling procedure, called the parametric bootstrap crossfitting method (PBCM; cf. Williams (J. R. Statist. Soc. B 32 (1970) 350; Biometrics ..."
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Cited by 37 (5 self)
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We present a general sampling procedure to quantify model mimicry, defined as the ability of a model to account for data generated by a competing model. This sampling procedure, called the parametric bootstrap crossfitting method (PBCM; cf. Williams (J. R. Statist. Soc. B 32 (1970) 350; Biometrics 26 (1970) 23)), generates distributions of differences in goodnessoffit expected under each of the competing models. In the data informed version of the PBCM, the generating models have specific parameter values obtained by fitting the experimental data under consideration. The data informed difference distributions can be compared to the observed difference in goodnessoffit to allow a quantification of model adequacy. In the data uninformed version of the PBCM, the generating models have a relatively broad range of parameter values based on prior knowledge. Application of both the data informed and the data uninformed PBCM is illustrated with several examples. r 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 1.
Assessing the Distinguishability of Models and the Informativeness of Data
"... A difficulty in the development and testing of psychological models is that they are typically evaluated solely on their ability to fit experimental data, with little consideration given to their ability to fit other possible data patterns. By examining how well model A fits data generated by mod ..."
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Cited by 30 (9 self)
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A difficulty in the development and testing of psychological models is that they are typically evaluated solely on their ability to fit experimental data, with little consideration given to their ability to fit other possible data patterns. By examining how well model A fits data generated by model B, and vice versa (a technique that we call landscaping), much safer inferences can be made about the meaning of a models fit to data. We demonstrate the landscaping technique using four models of retention and 77 historical data sets, and show how the method can be used to (1) evaluate the distinguishability of models, (2) evaluate the informativeness of data in distinguishing between models, and (3) suggest new ways to distinguish between models. The generality of the method is demonstrated in two other research areas (information integration and categorization), and its relationship to the important notion of model complexity is discussed.
Modeling individual differences in cognition
 Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
, 2005
"... Many evaluations of cognitive models rely on data that have been averaged or aggregated across all experimental subjects, and so fail to consider the possibility of important individual differences between subjects. Other evaluations are done at the singlesubject level, and so fail to benefit from ..."
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Cited by 25 (6 self)
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Many evaluations of cognitive models rely on data that have been averaged or aggregated across all experimental subjects, and so fail to consider the possibility of important individual differences between subjects. Other evaluations are done at the singlesubject level, and so fail to benefit from the reduction of noise that data averaging or aggregation potentially provides. To overcome these weaknesses, we have developed a general approach to modeling individual differences using families of cognitive models in which different groups of subjects are identified as having different psychological behavior. Separate models with separate parameterizations are applied to each group of subjects, and Bayesian model selection is used to determine the appropriate number of groups. We evaluate this individual differences approach in a simulation study and show that it is superior in terms of the key modeling goals of prediction and understanding. We also provide two practical demonstrations of the approach, one using the ALCOVE model of category learning with data from four previously analyzed category learning experiments, the other using multidimensional scaling representational models with previously analyzed similarity data for colors. In both demonstrations, meaningful individual differences are found and the psychological models are able to account for this variation through interpretable differences in parameterization. The results highlight the potential of extending cognitive models to consider individual differences. Much of cognitive psychology, like other empirical sciences, involves the development and evaluation of models. Models provide formal accounts of the explanations proposed by theories and have been developed to address diverse cognitive phenomena, ranging from
Model Selection by Normalized Maximum Likelihood
, 2005
"... The Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle is an information theoretic approach to inductive inference that originated in algorithmic coding theory. In this approach, data are viewed as codes to be compressed by the model. From this perspective, models are compared on their ability to compress a ..."
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Cited by 24 (9 self)
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The Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle is an information theoretic approach to inductive inference that originated in algorithmic coding theory. In this approach, data are viewed as codes to be compressed by the model. From this perspective, models are compared on their ability to compress a data set by extracting useful information in the data apart from random noise. The goal of model selection is to identify the model, from a set of candidate models, that permits the shortest description length (code) of the data. Since Rissanen originally formalized the problem using the crude ‘twopart code ’ MDL method in the 1970s, many significant strides have been made, especially in the 1990s, with the culmination of the development of the refined ‘universal code’ MDL method, dubbed Normalized Maximum Likelihood (NML). It represents an elegant solution to the model selection problem. The present paper provides a tutorial review on these latest developments with a special focus on NML. An application example of NML in cognitive modeling is also provided.
Optimal experimental design for model discrimination
 Psychological Review
, 2009
"... Models of a psychological process can be difficult to discriminate experimentally because it is not easy to determine the values of the critical design variables (e.g., presentation schedule, stimulus structure) that will be most informative in differentiating them. Recent developments in samplingb ..."
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Cited by 23 (7 self)
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Models of a psychological process can be difficult to discriminate experimentally because it is not easy to determine the values of the critical design variables (e.g., presentation schedule, stimulus structure) that will be most informative in differentiating them. Recent developments in samplingbased search methods in statistics make it possible to determine these values and thereby identify an optimal experimental design. After describing the method, it is demonstrated in 2 content areas in cognitive psychology in which models are highly competitive: retention (i.e., forgetting) and categorization. The optimal design is compared with the quality of designs used in the literature. The findings demonstrate that design optimization has the potential to increase the informativeness of the experimental method.
Sequential sampling models of human text classification
 Cognitive Science
, 2003
"... Text classification involves deciding whether or not a document is about a given topic. It is an important problem in machine learning, because automated text classifiers have enormous potential for application in information retrieval systems. It is also an interesting problem for cognitive science ..."
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Cited by 20 (3 self)
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Text classification involves deciding whether or not a document is about a given topic. It is an important problem in machine learning, because automated text classifiers have enormous potential for application in information retrieval systems. It is also an interesting problem for cognitive science, because it involves real world human decision making with complicated stimuli. This paper develops two models of human text document classification based on random walk and accumulator sequential sampling processes. The models are evaluated using data from an experiment where participants classify text documents presented one word at a time under task instructions that emphasize either speed or accuracy, and rate their confidence in their decisions. Fitting the random walk and accumulator models to these data shows that the accumulator provides a better account of the decisions made, and a “balance of evidence ” measure provides the best account of confidence. Both models are also evaluated in the applied information retrieval context, by comparing their performance to established machine learning techniques on the standard Reuters21578 corpus. It is found that they are almost as accurate as the benchmarks, and make decisions much more quickly because they only need to examine a small proportion of the words in the document. In addition, the ability of the accumulator model to produce useful confidence measures is shown to have application in prioritizing the results of classification decisions.
Efficient Computation of Stochastic Complexity
 Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics
, 2003
"... Stochastic complexity of a data set is defined as the shortest possible code length for the data obtainable by using some fixed set of models. This measure is of great theoretical and practical importance as a tool for tasks such as model selection or data clustering. Unfortunately, computing ..."
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Cited by 16 (11 self)
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Stochastic complexity of a data set is defined as the shortest possible code length for the data obtainable by using some fixed set of models. This measure is of great theoretical and practical importance as a tool for tasks such as model selection or data clustering. Unfortunately, computing the modern version of stochastic complexity, defined as the Normalized Maximum Likelihood (NML) criterion, requires computing a sum with an exponential number of terms. Therefore, in order to be able to apply the stochastic complexity measure in practice, in most cases it has to be approximated. In this paper, we show that for some interesting and important cases with multinomial data sets, the exponentiality can be removed without loss of accuracy. We also introduce a new computationally efficient approximation scheme based on analytic combinatorics and assess its accuracy, together with earlier approximations, by comparing them to the exact form.