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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Improving a model of human planning via large-scale data and deep neural networks


Models in cognitive science are often restricted for the sake of interpretability, and as a result may miss patterns in the data that are instead classified as noise. In contrast, deep neural networks can detect almost any pattern given sufficient data, but have only recently been applied to large-scale data sets and tasks for which there already exist process-level models to compare against. Here, we train deep neural networks to predict human play in 4-in-a-row, a combinatorial game of intermediate complexity, using a data set of 10,874,547 games. We compare these networks to a planning model based on a heuristic function and tree search, and make suggestions for model improvements based on this analysis. This work provides the foundation for estimating a noise ceiling on massive data sets as well as systematically investigating the processes underlying human sequential decision-making.

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