From Pigeons to Humans: Grounding Relational Learning in Concrete Examples

Marc T. Tomlinson, Bradley C. Love

We present a cognitive model that bridges work in analogy and category learning. The model, Building Relations through Instance Driven Gradient Error Shifting (BRIDGES), extends ALCOVE, an exemplar-based connectionist model of human category learning (Kruschke, 1992). Unlike ALCOVE which is limited to featural or spatial representations, BRIDGES can appreciate analogical relationships between stimuli and stored predicate representations of exemplars. Like ALCOVE, BRIDGES learns to shift attention over the course of learning to reduce error and, in the process, alters its notion of similarity. A shift toward relational sources of similarity allows BRIDGES to display what appears to be an understanding of abstract domains, when in fact performance is driven by similarity-based structural alignment (i.e., analogy) to stored exemplars. Supportive simulations of animal, infant, and adult learning are provided. We end by considering possible extensions of BRIDGES suitable for computationally demanding applications.

Subjects: 4. Cognitive Modeling; 11. Knowledge Representation

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