Active Inference in Concept Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 13 (NIPS 2000)

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Jonathan Nelson, Javier Movellan


People are active experimenters, not just passive observers, constantly seeking new information relevant to their goals. A reasonable approach to active information gathering is to ask questions and conduct experiments that maximize the expected information gain, given current beliefs (Fedorov 1972, MacKay 1992, Oaksford & Chater 1994). In this paper we present results on an exploratory experiment designed to study people's active information gathering behavior on a concept task (Tenenbaum 2000). The results of the experiment are analyzed in terms of the expected information gain of the questions asked by subjects.