The algorithmic anatomy of model-based evaluation

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2014 Nov 5;369(1655):20130478. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0478.


Despite many debates in the first half of the twentieth century, it is now largely a truism that humans and other animals build models of their environments and use them for prediction and control. However, model-based (MB) reasoning presents severe computational challenges. Alternative, computationally simpler, model-free (MF) schemes have been suggested in the reinforcement learning literature, and have afforded influential accounts of behavioural and neural data. Here, we study the realization of MB calculations, and the ways that this might be woven together with MF values and evaluation methods. There are as yet mostly only hints in the literature as to the resulting tapestry, so we offer more preview than review.

Keywords: Monte Carlo tree search; model-based reasoning; model-free reasoning; orbitofrontal cortex; reinforcement learning; striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Neurological*