A probabilistic model of theory formation.
2010-02-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
<p>Concept learning is challenging in part because the meanings of many concepts depend on their relationships to other concepts. Learning these concepts in isolation can be difficult, but we present a model that discovers entire systems of related concepts. These systems can be viewed as simple theories that specify the concepts that exist in a domain, and the laws or principles that relate these concepts. We apply our model to several real-world problems, including learning the structure of kinship systems and learning ontologies. We also compare its predictions to data collected in two behavioral experiments. Experiment 1 shows that our model helps to explain how simple theories are acquired and used for inductive inference. Experiment 2 suggests that our model provides a better account of theory discovery than a more traditional alternative that focuses on features rather than relations.</p>