Modeling how, when, and what is learned in a simple fault-finding task

Frank E. Ritter, Peter A. Bibby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We have developed a process model that learns in multiple ways while finding faults in a simple control panel device. The model predicts human participants' learning through its own learning. The model's performance was systematically compared to human learning data, including the time course and specific sequence of learned behaviors. These comparisons show that the model accounts very well for measures such as problem-solving strategy, the relative difficulty of faults, and average fault-finding time. More important, because the model learns and transfers its learning across problems, it also accounts for the faster problem-solving times due to learning when examined across participants, across faults, and across the series of 20 trials on an individual participant basis. The model shows how learning while problem solving can lead to more recognition-based performance, and helps explain how the shape of the learning curve can arise through learning and be modified by differential transfer. Overall, the quality of the correspondence appears to have arisen from procedural, declarative, and episodic learning all taking place within individual problem-solving episodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-892
Number of pages31
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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