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In Cognitive science

Flexibility is one of the hallmarks of human problem-solving. In everyday life, people adapt to changes in common tasks with little to no additional training. Much of the existing work on flexibility in human problem-solving has focused on how people adapt to tasks in new domains by drawing on solutions from previously learned domains. In real-world tasks, however, humans must generalize across a wide range of within-domain variation. In this work we argue that representational abstraction plays an important role in such within-domain generalization. We then explore the nature of this representational abstraction in realistically complex tasks like video games by demonstrating how the same model-based planning framework produces distinct generalization behaviors under different classes of task representation. Finally, we compare the behavior of agents with these task representations to humans in a series of novel grid-based video game tasks. Our results provide evidence for the claim that within-domain flexibility in humans derives from task representations composed of propositional rules written in terms of objects and relational categories.

Pouncy Thomas, Tsividis Pedro, Gershman Samuel J


Artificial intelligence, Generalization, Human cognition, Reinforcement learning, Representation learning, Transfer learning