LADE Seminar

Eugenio Piasini (SISSA)

Title: Occam’s razor in human decision-making


Occam’s razor is the principle that, all else being equal, simpler explanations should be preferred over more complex ones. This principle is thought to play a role in human perception and decision-making, but the nature of our presumed preference for simplicity is unclear. In this talk I will describe recent behavioral experiments performed by our group, informed by formal theories of statistical model selection. We show that, when faced with uncertain evidence, human subjects exhibit preferences for particular, theoretically grounded forms of simplicity of the alternative explanations. These preferences persist even when they are maladaptive. Thus, these preferences are not simply optimizations for particular task conditions but rather a more general feature of human decision-making. Our results imply that principled notions of statistical model complexity have direct, quantitative relevance to human behavior.

Jan 24, 2024 10:00 AM — 11:00 AM
LADE Seminar
Sala Riunioni RIT, Area Science Park
Località Padriciano 99, Trieste, 34149
Area Science Park - RIT
Area Science Park - RIT
Research Institute

The Institute of Research and Innovation Technology (RIT) at Area Science Park carries out cutting-edge research and provides services and consulting to public and private-sector users through its three laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art technology.