Monthly
288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
ISSN
0899-7667
E-ISSN
1530-888X
2014 Impact factor:
2.21

Neural Computation

November 2008, Vol. 20, No. 11, Pages 2597-2628
(doi: 10.1162/neco.2008.04-07-504)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Latent Features in Similarity Judgments: A Nonparametric Bayesian Approach
Article PDF (457.38 KB)
Abstract

One of the central problems in cognitive science is determining the mental representations that underlie human inferences. Solutions to this problem often rely on the analysis of subjective similarity judgments, on the assumption that recognizing likenesses between people, objects, and events is crucial to everyday inference. One such solution is provided by the additive clustering model, which is widely used to infer the features of a set of stimuli from their similarities, on the assumption that similarity is a weighted linear function of common features. Existing approaches for implementing additive clustering often lack a complete framework for statistical inference, particularly with respect to choosing the number of features. To address these problems, this article develops a fully Bayesian formulation of the additive clustering model, using methods from nonparametric Bayesian statistics to allow the number of features to vary. We use this to explore several approaches to parameter estimation, showing that the nonparametric Bayesian approach provides a straightforward way to obtain estimates of both the number of features and their importance.