Probabilistic inference in human semantic memory

Mark Steyvers, Thomas L. Griffiths, Simon Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The idea of viewing human cognition as a rational solution to computational problems posed by the environment has influenced several recent theories of human memory. The first rational models of memory demonstrated that human memory seems to be remarkably well adapted to environmental statistics but made only minimal assumptions about the form of the environmental information represented in memory. Recently, several probabilistic methods for representing the latent semantic structure of language have been developed, drawing on research in computer science, statistics and computational linguistics. These methods provide a means of extending rational models of memory retrieval to linguistic stimuli, and a way to explore the influence of the statistics of language on human memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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