Chapter

Towards a rational theory of human information acquisition

Jonathan D. Nelson

in The Probabilistic Mind:

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216093
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191695971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216093.003.0007
Towards a rational theory of human information acquisition

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This chapter considers the crucial question of the usefulness of data, with respect to a set of hypotheses under consideration. Some data are clearly irrelevant to the hypotheses of concern; some decisively favour one hypothesis or another. But, in general, data modifies the probability of the hypotheses, but to a modest degree. Only with a measure of the usefulness of data is it possible to formulate a theory of which experiments should be carried out, or which observations should be made. It provides a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a range of measures of evidential usefulness, drawn from a variety of fields of cognitive science.

Keywords: data; usefulness; hypotheses; information acquisition; cognitive science

Chapter.  9427 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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