Turning large language models into cognitive models

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 09 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: cognitive modeling, large language models, neural networks, cognitive psychology, decision-making
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TL;DR: We finetune a large language model on data from psychological experiments and find that doing so produces models that are more aligned with human decision-making.
Abstract: Large language models are powerful systems that excel at many tasks, ranging from translation to mathematical reasoning. Yet, at the same time, these models often show unhuman-like characteristics. In the present paper, we address this gap and ask whether large language models can be turned into cognitive models. We find that -- after finetuning them on data from psychological experiments -- these models offer accurate representations of human behavior, even outperforming traditional cognitive models in two decision-making domains. In addition, we show that their representations contain the information necessary to model behavior on the level of individual subjects. Finally, we demonstrate that finetuning on multiple tasks enables large language models to predict human behavior in a previously unseen task. Taken together, these results suggest that large, pre-trained models can be adapted to become models of human cognition, which opens up future research directions toward building more general cognitive models.
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Primary Area: applications to neuroscience & cognitive science
Submission Number: 4931