Re: poly: Are people roughly Bayesian?

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Fri Jan 08 1999 - 15:03:31 PST

Hal Finney writes:
>Would this imply that the "smarter" subjects, the ones who did better
>than the others, differed in a specific way, relating to "prior precision"
>in a Bayesian learning model? If so this would seem to shed light on
>the nature of intelligence. (Or maybe this is just another way of saying
>that some people couldn't seem to learn from their mistakes.)
>I am not familiar enough with Bayesian learning to know what "prior
>precision" means in this context. Can someone explain?

I haven't read the paper, but let's presume that what they looked at
where models of error-prone Bayesians. If so, there are two things
that make such Bayesians "smarter":
1) Smaller errors: they more exactly approximate a Bayesian.
2) More informed priors: Their prior beliefs reflect more information
   and so are more concentrated on the true states of the world.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar FAX: 510-643-8614
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 510-643-1884
Received on Fri Jan 8 15:19:23 1999

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