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Amortized Bayesian Inference for Models of Cognition

Mr. Stefan Radev
Heidelberg University ~ Quantitative Research Methods
Andreas Voss
Heidelberg University ~ Institute of Psychology
Eva Marie Wieschen
Heidelberg University, Germany
Paul-Christian B├╝rkner
Aalto University, Finland

As models of cognition grow in complexity and number of parameters, Bayesian inference with standard methods can become intractable, especially when the data-generating model is of unknown analytic form. Recent advances in simulation-based inference using specialized neural network architectures circumvent many previous problems of approximate Bayesian computation. Moreover, due to the properties of these special neural network estimators, the effort of training the networks via simulations amortizes over subsequent evaluations which can re-use the same network for multiple datasets and across multiple researchers. However, these methods have been largely underutilized in cognitive science and psychology so far, even though they are well suited for tackling a wide variety of modeling problems. With this work, we provide a general introduction to amortized Bayesian parameter estimation and model comparison and demonstrate the applicability of the proposed methods on a well-known class of intractable response-time models.


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