Evolving Non-Dominated Parameter Sets for Computational Models from Multiple Experiments

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Abstract

Creating robust, reproducible and optimal computational models is a key challenge for theorists in many sciences. Psychology and cognitive science face particular challenges as large amounts of data are collected and many models are not amenable to analytical techniques for calculating parameter sets. Particular problems are to locate the full range of acceptable model parameters for a given dataset, and to confirm the consistency of model parameters across different datasets. Resolving these problems will provide a better understanding of the behaviour of computational models, and so support the development of general and robust models. In this article, we address these problems using evolutionary algorithms to develop parameters for computational models against multiple sets of experimental data; in particular, we propose the ‘speciated non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm’ for evolving models in several theories. We discuss the problem of developing a model of categorisation using twenty-nine sets of data and models drawn from four different theories. We find that the evolutionary algorithms generate high quality models, adapted to provide a good fit to all available data.

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