What to simulate? Inferring the right direction for mental rotation

Jessica B. Hamrick, Thomas L. Griffiths

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

When people use mental imagery, how do they decide which images to generate? To answer this question, we explored how mental simulation should be used in the classic psychological task of determining if two images depict the same object in different orientations (Shepard & Metzler, 1971). Through a rational analysis of mental rotation, we formalized four models and compared them to human performance. We found that three models based on previous hypotheses in the literature were unable to account for several aspects of human behavior. The fourth is based on the idea active sampling (e.g., Gureckis & Markant, 2012), which is a strategy of choosing actions that will provide the most information. This last model provides a plausible account of how people use mental rotation, where the other models do not. Based on these results, we suggest that the question of “what to simulate?” is more difficult than has previously been assumed, and that an active learning approach holds promise for uncovering the answer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages577-582
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196708
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014 - Quebec City, Canada
Duration: Jul 23 2014Jul 26 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014

Conference

Conference36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityQuebec City
Period7/23/147/26/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • computational modeling
  • mental rotation

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