Evolving Understandable Cognitive Models

Peter Lane, Laura Bartlett, Noman Javed, Angelo Pirrone, Fernand Gobet

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

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Cognitive models for explaining and predicting human performance in experimental settings are often challenging to develop and verify. We describe a process to automatically generate the programs for cognitive models from a user-supplied specification, using genetic programming (GP). We first construct a suitable fitness function, taking into account observed error and reaction times. Then we introduce post-processing techniques to transform the large number of candidate models produced by GP into a smaller set of models, whose diversity can be depicted graphically and can be individually studied through pseudo-code. These techniques are demonstrated on a typical neuro-scientific task, the Delayed Match to Sample Task, with the final set of symbolic models separated into two types, each employing a different attentional strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling
EditorsT.C. Stewart
PublisherApplied Cognitive Science Lab
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9985082-6-9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2022
Event20th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling: Co-located with the 55th Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology and held both online and in Toronto, Canada - Online
Duration: 11 Jul 202215 Jul 2022
Conference number: 20


Conference20th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling
Abbreviated titleVirtual MathPsych/ICCM 2022 (VMP 2022)
OtherThe International Conference on Cognitive Modelling (ICCM) is the premier conferencefor research on computational models and computation-based theories of humancognition. ICCM is a forum for presenting and discussing the complete spectrum ofcognitive modelling approaches, including but not limited to connectionism, symbolicmodelling, dynamical systems, Bayesian modelling, and cognitive architectures.Research topics can range from low-level perception to high-level reasoning. In 2022,ICCM was jointly held with MathPsych, the annual meeting of the Society forMathematical Psychology. Both events were held in a hybrid manner; first there was apurely online event running from July 11 to July 15, 2022, and then there was an inperson event held in Toronto, Canada from July 23 to July 27.
Internet address


  • cognitive modelling
  • genetic programming
  • model visualisation


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