Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-16-2021

Abstract

The fields of machine learning (ML) and cognitive science have developed complementary approaches to computationally modeling human behavior. ML's primary concern is maximizing prediction accuracy; cognitive science's primary concern is explaining the underlying mechanisms. Cross-talk between these disciplines is limited, likely because the tasks and goals usually differ. The domain of e-learning and knowledge acquisition constitutes a fruitful intersection for the two fields’ methodologies to be integrated because accurately tracking learning and forgetting over time and predicting future performance based on learning histories are central to developing effective, personalized learning tools. Here, we show how a state-of-the-art ML model can be enhanced by incorporating insights from a cognitive model of human memory. This was done by exploiting the predictive performance equation's (PPE) narrow but highly specialized domain knowledge with regard to the temporal dynamics of learning and forgetting. Specifically, the PPE was used to engineer timing-related input features for a gradient-boosted decision trees (GBDT) model. The resulting PPE-enhanced GBDT outperformed the default GBDT, especially under conditions in which limited data were available for training. Results suggest that integrating cognitive and ML models could be particularly productive if the available data are too high-dimensional to be explained by a cognitive model but not sufficiently large to effectively train a modern ML algorithm. Here, the cognitive model's insights pertaining to only one aspect of the data were enough to jump-start the ML model's ability to make predictions—a finding that holds promise for future explorations.

Comments

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Please fully attribute the citation below in any re-use.

From the Wiley page for this article: This article has earned Open Data and Open Materials badges. Data are available at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/8SWHNO and materials are available at https://osf.io/vk8jr/.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1111/tops.12574

Source Publication

Topics in Cognitive Science

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