I propose a double standard.

If you’re going to put the word “cognitive” in front of the word “model” that model had better be good at something.

Before machine learning got all good at actually learning stuff, a person making a model of smart thinking had a meager hope. Can I make my model account for accuracy and reaction time in this task. Or maybe this family of tasks? Maybe this neural data too?

We know computers can do better now. They solve hard problems. ML has raised its bar. Our standard for cognitive modeling must raise too.

It’s a brute fact. If we’re to understand cognition, we must make models capable of succeeding at complex computations. Doing something like real human (animal) cognition does easily on a daily basis.

The double standard I’m saying is this. A good cognitive model must do things:

  1. Account for human (animal, neural) behavior and
  2. Approach cutting edge performance on an appropriate ML data set.



My new publication strategy.

  1. Do slow careful work on crucial questions.
  2. Submit to an Arxiv. Sharing is caring.
  3. Submit to the top tier, and shop until I drop. I want to have an impact. To be read. And I have an ego.
  4. Submit to the fast online transparent cheap new journals (peerj, F1000). I’d rather be vetted and be out then waiting. I also want to write with less pressure, faster, so I can be read more often. Rejection is just fine with me, when it’s from the top*. Otherwise I’d rather get my work checked quicker and cheaper** then move on. On average, peer review provides a light vetting. This is especially clear recently, but has never been exactly opaque. Why not just get on with it?

Should you do this? No idea. No comment. I think I can make it work where want to go….

There are too many ideas out there, waiting, needing to be played with.


[*] Let me be clear. I don’t mean glam journals always give the best science. I don’t think this, even a little. They do have the most eyeballs and the most clout. Forgive me for wanting both.

[**] 1500-3000 bucks to provide some vetting and light light editing, is straight-up full-on fucking madness.

Hope’s boundary layer

It isn’t a thing to
have and to hold, dear.

Warm moist air,
upward wind,
classic circulation,
rise with
the parcel
fall down at
the top.

Fall gladly
don’t worry
we all know
there’s always
another great
storm brewing,
season after

The Optimal People?

My intuition is that nature does as little work as possible. Sometimes ‘as possible’ means optimal, in the theory-wankery sense. This doesn’t mean each finding of optimality is indictment of Her laziness. It’s just that you can’t always sloth your way around. Though the folks who look at optimality as a, or the, guide star seem to me to be more about looking for the sanity in humanity, and themselves, than looking at any sensible biology.

But then again, ‘be lazy as you can be’ could be conceived as an….