On age perception & On design from zeroth principles Jordan Suchow Postdoc from UC Berkeley; working with Tom Griffiths

Jordan Suchow Postdoc from UC Berkeley; working with Tom Griffiths
Jordan Hall (Building 420), Room 050
Public Access: 
Open to the public

Abstract: A pair of short talks, the first on the perception of age, the second on a new approach to design inspired by methods from cognitive psychology:

(1) Age is a primary social category, and as a culture, we are obsessed with it. Do our estimations of age depend on our own identity? I'll describe an experiment on individual differences in age perception that provides an answer: people's estimates depend on their own age, with a bias that reverses over the lifetime.

(2) A successful design accounts for the structure of the problem it is aimed at solving. When it is a human-directed design, this includes the expectations of its users. How do we arrive at such a design? Here, I'll introduce a form of human-in-the-loop computation that synthesizes a design that conforms to its users’ expectations. The technique begins by constructing a transmission chain seeded with a random design. Each user in the chain is exposed to the design and then recreates it, passing along their recreation to the next user, who does the same. Through this iterative process, the users’ perceptual, inductive, and reconstructive biases directly transform the initial design into one that is better fit to human cognition. Such designs are easier to learn and harder to forget. I evaluate the approach in three domains — stimulus–response mappings, vanity phone numbers, and letter placement in typeset words — and show that it produces a good design in each.

Date and Time: 
Friday, March 11, 2016 - 3:15pm - 4:30pm