Measuring how people learn how to plan.

AbstractHow can people learn to make better decisions and become more far-sighted? To make the underlying learning mechanisms more accessible to scientific inquiry, we develop a computational method for measuring the time course of experience-dependent changes in people's planning strategies. We validated our method on simulated and empirical data: on simulated data its inferences were significantly more accurate than simpler approaches, and when evaluated on human data it correctly detected the plasticity-enhancing effect of performance feedback. Having validated our method, we illustrate how it can be used to gain new insights into the time course and nature of cognitive plasticity. Future work will leverage our method to i) reverse-engineer the learning mechanisms enabling people to acquire complex cognitive skills such as planning and problem-solving and ii) measure individual differences in cognitive plasticity.

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