Inductive biases in theory-based reinforcement learning

TitleInductive biases in theory-based reinforcement learning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsPouncy, T, Gershman, SJ
JournalCognitive Psychology
Date Published11/2022

Understanding the inductive biases that allow humans to learn in complex environments has been an important goal of cognitive science. Yet, while we have discovered much about human biases in specific learning domains, much of this research has focused on simple tasks that lack the complexity of the real world. In contrast, video games involving agents and objects embedded in richly structured systems provide an experimentally tractable proxy for real-world complexity. Recent work has suggested that key aspects of human learning in domains like video games can be captured by model-based reinforcement learning (RL) with object-oriented relational models—what we term theory-based RL. Restricting the model class in this way provides an inductive bias that dramatically increases learning efficiency, but in this paper we show that humans employ a stronger set of biases in addition to syntactic constraints on the structure of theories. In particular, we catalog a set of semantic biases that constrain the content of theories. Building these semantic biases into a theory-based RL system produces more human-like learning in video game environments.

Short TitleCognitive Psychology

Associated Module: 

CBMM Relationship: 

  • CBMM Funded