4 May 2012According to Bayesian theories in psychology and neuroscience, minds and brains are statistical devices that are (near) optimal in solving a wide range of tasks. A paper published by Bowers and Davis (2012) challenges the value of this widespread approach. According to the authors, Bayesian theories are highly flexible in their predictions, and are often built post-hoc around data. On their view, Bayesian theories are often nothing more than “just so” stories; that is, mathematical analyses of cognition that can be used to explain almost any behavior as optimal.
Bowers, J. S., & Davis, C. J. (2012). Bayesian just-so stories in psychology and neuroscience. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 389-414. doi: 10.1037/a0026450