City Research Online

A Goal-Directed Bayesian Framework for Categorization

Rigoli, F. ORCID: 0000-0003-2233-934X, Pezzulo, G., Dolan, R.J. & Friston, K. J. (2017). A Goal-Directed Bayesian Framework for Categorization. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, article number 408. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00408


Categorization is a fundamental ability for efficient behavioral control. It allows organisms to remember the correct responses to categorical cues and not for every stimulus encountered (hence eluding computational cost or complexity), and to generalize appropriate responses to novel stimuli dependant on category assignment. Assuming the brain performs Bayesian inference, based on a generative model of the external world and future goals, we propose a computational model of categorization in which important properties emerge. These properties comprise the ability to infer latent causes of sensory experience, a hierarchical organization of latent causes, and an explicit inclusion of context and action representations. Crucially, these aspects derive from considering the environmental statistics that are relevant to achieve goals, and from the fundamental Bayesian principle that any generative model should be preferred over alternative models based on an accuracy-complexity trade-off. Our account is a step toward elucidating computational principles of categorization and its role within the Bayesian brain hypothesis.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Bayesian inference, goal-directed behavior, categorization, model comparison, accuracy complexity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Front.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login