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Cognitive Modeling

The Cognitive Modeling Group of ALICE, the research institute of the department of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Groningen, studies human cognition by creating cognitive models of complex behavior. Because of the advantages symbolic models (or more accurately, hybrid models) offer with respect to inspectability, most of our work has focused on symbolic (and statistical) models. These models often take the form of computational models implemented in ACT-R. (For a short introduction to ACT-R, see here.)


Currently, our work focuses on:
  • Skill Acquisition. Niels Taatgen developed the initial version of the production rule mechanism now incorporated in the new version of ACT-R.
  • Cognitive Development. Niels Taatgen and Hedderik van Rijn both published on the acquisition of skills in a developmental context. Taatgen's work focuses on past-tense learning whereas Van Rijn's work is in the field of proportional reasoning. Zondervan and Taatgen have published an awarded paper on determiner learning in French.
  • Time. An important part of the current work in progress focuses on different aspects of time. How do humans perceive time, and how do they incorporate their knowledge of task-related timing in their behavior.
  • User Modeling. By constructing cognitive models of users in complex tasks, their behavior can be supported and better understood. The Optima project is focused on this topic.
  • Dynamics of decision making with a particular emphasis on how our memory informs our decisions. Marieke van Vugt has shown that decision making is associated with 4-9 Hz theta oscillations in EEG, and is now investigating how generalizable such neural correlates are.
  • Neural correlates of ACT-R. Marieke van Vugt has made the first steps in finding correlates of ACT-R in brain oscillations recorded in EEG.
  • Modeling of the effects of meditation on cognition. This started with the study by van Vugt & Jha (2011), who showed that we can use the Drift diffusion model and Noisy Exemplar Model to demonstrate a reduction in mental noise as a result of meditation. See this page for more info.
For a more extensive list (and references to published work) see our home pages. Downloads of published models can be found in the Models section.


Research of the Cognitive Modeling Group is embedded within the Artificial Intelligence research group Alice and the research school BCN. The course "Architectures for Intelligence" is part of the Bachelor program Artificial Intelligence, the courses "Cognitive Modeling" and "User Models" are courses taught in the Master Human-Machine Interaction.

In Spring 2000, the Cognitive Modeling Group organised the Third International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. 15 years later – in April 2015 – we will organise the 13th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM). In 2009, we organized the Cognitive Science Conference, together with Lambert Schomaker and John Nerbonne. Internationally, there is close cooperation with John Anderson's ACT-R group at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Last Updated ( Monday, 11 August 2014 13:55 )