Computer model can predict human behavior and learning

Nov 07, 2008

A computer model that can predict how people will complete a controlled task and how the knowledge needed to complete that task develops over time is the product of a group of researchers, led by a professor from Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Frank Ritter, associate professor of IST and psychology, and his research associates, used the Soar programming language, which is designed to represent human knowledge, on a 20-trial circuit troubleshooting task most recently done by 10 students at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Each participant was to identify faults in a circuit system after memorizing the organization of its components and switches. This process was repeated 20 times for each person, with the series of tests chosen randomly each time. Their choices and reaction times were recorded and compared with the computer model's results.

Much like the students, the computer model, called Diag, learned as it went through each test and developed the knowledge for completing the task quickly and efficiently.

"The model does not merely accurately predict problem-solving time for the human participants; it also replicates the strategy that human participants use, and it learns at the same rate at which the participants learn," Ritter said.

In most cases, the model came within two to four seconds of predicting how long it would take each participant to solve the problem and it fit eight out of the 10 participants' problem-solving times very well. Ritter said the results outlined in the paper were consistent with previous trials, showing the development of regularity in the model.

"The project shows we can predict human learning on a fine-grained level," Ritter said. "Everyone thinks that's possible, but here's an actual model doing it. The model provides a detailed representation of how a transfer works, and that transfer process is really what education is about."

Ritter worked with Peter Bibby and two research assistants at the University of Nottingham. Their paper, "Modeling How, When, and What is Learned in a Simple Fault-Finding Task," appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Cognitive Science.

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Male images seen by left side of the brain, new study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Evolving robot brains

Mar 02, 2015

Researchers are using the principles of Darwinian evolution to develop robot brains that can navigate mazes, identify and catch falling objects, and work as a group to determine in which order they should ...

Hotel robots in Japan will perform a range of tasks

Feb 08, 2015

This summer, you could be walking into a theme-park hotel to find the greeter is not a person but a robot. Once you stop rubbing your eyes, you will see that a robot appears, to carry your bags to your room. ...

Recommended for you

No link between psychedelics and mental health problems

12 hours ago

The use of psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 135,000 randomly chosen people, including ...

Antibodies to brain proteins may trigger psychosis

12 hours ago

Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop.

Stigma of mental illness in India linked to poverty

14 hours ago

The stigma surrounding people with severe mental illness in India leads to increased poverty among them, especially women, according to new research led by Jean-Francois Trani, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.