Wired for statistics


Aleks over at the “Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science”:http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2006/11/is_the_brain_do.html
(put out by a bunch of social science-based Bayesian statisticians from Columbia University) wonders whether our brain is wired to do a Markov Chain Monte Carlo, which is a sophisticated simulation-based method of doing statistics. Apparently, our brain puts out activity that looks like noise before going into peak-state, and the idea is that we might be simulating various outcomes from prior information (i.e. MCMC) to make the best decision (technically “Bayes-optimal”).

Fascinating theory to entertain. I think that maybe we are doing some sort of MCMC or simulation unconsciously when we make decisions, but that may not be the whole story.

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