, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 29-44

Flexibility versus generalizability in model selection


Which quantitative method should be used to choose among competing mathematical models of cognition? Massaro, Cohen, Campbell, and Rodriguez (2001) favor root mean squared deviation (RMSD), choosing the model that provides the best fit to the data. Their simulation results appear to legitimize its use for comparing two models of information integration because it performed just as well as Bayesian model selection (BMS), which had previously been shown by Myung and Pitt (1997) to be a superior alternative selection method because it considers a model’s complexity in addition to its fit. In the present study, after contrasting the theoretical approaches to model selection espoused by Massaro et al. and Myung and Pitt, we discuss the cause of the inconsistencies by expanding on the simulations of Massaro et al. Findings demonstrate that the results from model recovery simulations can be misleading if they are not interpreted relative to the data on which they were evaluated, and that BMS is a more robust selection method.

This work was supported by Research Grant R01 MH57472 from the National Institute of Mental Health.