Why did I write this thesis? How goals explain actions

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Why did I write this thesis? There are several possible goals that one can come up with to explain my behavior, e.g. earning a bachelor degree or trying to publish. Explaining observed behavior with the goal causing that behavior is called goal inference. The best explanation will be inferred, from several possible goals, through a process of Inference to the Best Ex- planation (IBE). In the cognitive (neuro-)science literature goal inference is often modeled using probabilistic IBE. In this thesis two probabilistic approaches of IBE, Maximum Likelihood (ML) and Most Probable Explanation (MPE), are evaluated. Glass (2007) applied ML and MPE to medical diagnostic cases and demonstrated that these approaches have some problematic aspects. ML ignores prior probabilities and MPE overweighs them. The question I tried to answer was whether these problems generalize to the domain of goal inference. The approach taken was analogous to the approach of Glass. The predictions of the ML and MPE models in three scenarios of goal inference were compared to human intuitions. It turned out that the problem of the ML model was present in two of the three scenarios. This suggests that the problem of ML does generalize to the domain of goal inference. The predictions of the MPE model matched human intuition in all three scenarios. This result suggests that the problem of MPE does not generalize.
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