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Bayesian Fundamentalism or Enlightenment? On the explanatory
 

Summary: Bayesian Fundamentalism
or Enlightenment? On the explanatory
status and theoretical contributions of
Bayesian models of cognition
Matt Jones
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado,
Boulder, CO 80309
mcj@colorado.edu http://matt.colorado.edu
Bradley C. Love
Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
brad_love@mail.utexas.edu http://love.psy.utexas.edu
Abstract: The prominence of Bayesian modeling of cognition has increased recently largely because of mathematical advances in
specifying and deriving predictions from complex probabilistic models. Much of this research aims to demonstrate that cognitive
behavior can be explained from rational principles alone, without recourse to psychological or neurological processes and
representations. We note commonalities between this rational approach and other movements in psychology namely, Behaviorism
and evolutionary psychology that set aside mechanistic explanations or make use of optimality assumptions. Through these
comparisons, we identify a number of challenges that limit the rational program's potential contribution to psychological theory.
Specifically, rational Bayesian models are significantly unconstrained, both because they are uninformed by a wide range of
process-level data and because their assumptions about the environment are generally not grounded in empirical measurement.
The psychological implications of most Bayesian models are also unclear. Bayesian inference itself is conceptually trivial, but strong

  

Source: Anderson, Barton L. - School of Psychology, University of Sydney
Love, Bradley C. - Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences