Gray, W. D., Sims, C., Fu, W.-t., & Schoelles (2006)

Gray, W. D., Sims, C. R., Fu, W.-T., & Schoelles, M. J. (2006). The soft constraints hypothesis: A rational analysis approach to resource allocation for interactive behavior. Psychological Review, 113(3) 461-482.

The Soft Constraints Hypothesis: A Rational Analysis Approach to Resource Allocation for Interactive Behavior

The soft constraints hypothesis (SCH) is a rational analysis (Anderson, 1990) approach that holds that the mixture of perceptual-motor and cognitive resources allocated for interactive behavior is adjusted based on temporal cost-benefit tradeoffs. Alternative approaches maintain that cognitive resources are in some sense protected or conserved in that greater amounts of perceptual-motor effort will be expended to conserve a lesser amount of cognitive effort (Wilson, 2003.) In this paper we compare predictions of SCH with the minimum memory hypothesis (MMH), which holds that people favor strategies that minimize the use of memory. Comparisons are made across 3 experiments and with the predictions of an Ideal Performer Model that combines a reinforcement learning approach to maximizing expected utility by minimizing time with ACT-R’s memory system. The model and data support the SCH view of resource allocation over the MMH view; at the under 1000-millisecond level of analysis, mixtures of cognitive and perceptual-motor resources are adjusted based on their cost-benefit tradeoffs for interactive behavior..

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