Simulating Infant Visual Learning by Comparison: An Initial Model

AbstractResearchers have recently found that 3-month-old infants are capable of using analogical abstraction to learn the same or different relation, given the right conditions (Anderson et al. 2018). Surprisingly, seeing fewer distinct examples led to more successful learning than seeing more distinct examples. This runs contrary to the prediction of standard learning theories, which hold that a wider range of examples leads to better generalization and transfer, but is compatible with other findings in infant research (Casasola 2005; Maguire et al. 2008). Anderson et al. (2018) propose that this is due to interactions between encoding and analogical learning. This paper explores that proposal through the lens of cognitive simulation, using automatically encoded visual stimuli and a cognitive model of analogical learning. The simulation results are compatible with the original findings, thereby providing evidence for this explanation. The assumptions underlying the simulation are delineated and some alternatives are discussed.

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