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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rules and principles in cognitive diagnosis


Cognitive simulation is concerned with constructing process models of human cognitive behavior. Our work on the ACM system (Automated Cognitive Modeler) is an attempt to automate this process. The basic assumption is that all goal-oriented cognitive behavior involves search through some problem space. Within this framework, the task of cognitive diagnosis is to identify the problem space in which the subject is operating, identify solution paths used by the subject, and find conditions on the operators that explain those solution paths and that predict the subject's behavior on new problems. The work presented in this paper uses techniques from machine learning to automate the tasks of finding solution paths and operator conditions. We apply this method to the domain of multi-column subtraction and present results that demonstrate ACM's ability to model incorrect subtraction strategies. Finally, we discuss the difference between procedural bugs and misconceptions, proposing that errors due to misconceptions can be viewed as violations of principles for the task domain.

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