Todd GURECKIS – 15 décembre 2022
Titre : Intuitive Physical Reasoning and Mental Simulation
The ability to reason about the physics of our world (e.g., what arrangements of objects are stable, how things will fall or move under a force) is central to human intelligence. One influential hypothesis is that this capacity stems from the ability to perform “mental simulations” of physical events (in effect, playing a mental “movie” of the future evolution of a scene according to the laws of physics). In this talk, I’ll try to pin down several core commitments of the mental simulation approach that must be present for the general theory to be viable. I then will describe experiments we conducted recently trying to test these commitments. Along the way, we stumbled into several curious and novel errors and biases in human physical reasoning ability that we believe represent limits to the universality of contemporary simulation theories. If there is time, I will discuss a related project considering how efficient or optimal people are when they “experiment” in the physical world in order to learn the covert properties of objects such as mass or attractive/repulsive forces like magnetism.
Todd M. Gureckis, Professor of Psychology, New York University, studies how people actively explore their world in order to learn, including everyday reasoning capacities for the physical and social world. His research combines methods of computational modeling, developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and online data collection. He is the founder and a lead developer of the psiTurk package, a tool for facilitating online experiments used in hundreds of research labs. His work has been recognized by the NSF CAREER award, the Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) from the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, the James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar award, and several paper and conferences awards with his students including the Marr Prize from the Cognitive Science Society, the Clifford T. Morgan Prize from the Psychonomic Society. He has variously served an Associate Editor for Cognitive Science, Topics in Cognitive Science, and Computational Brain and Behavior.