Models of Learning

Developed by
Jill O'Reilly
Hanneke den Ouden
-August 2015


Welcome to the wonderful world of behavioural modelling.

In this tutorial, you will get a taste for how the use of computational models may help us understand behaviour. We aim to give you a flavour of the mechanics and different steps involved. We chose to focus on very basic learning models from two classes of models: one reinforcement learning model, and one normative Bayesian learning model, and show you how you can start to use these models understand your subjects’ behaviour. Rather than purporting to be complete, we will hand you the tools to start thinking and reading for yourself.

This tutorial consists of 2 sections that can be completed independently. Section A is on standard reinforcement learning models (mainly written by Hanneke), and section B on Bayesian learning models (mainly written by Jill). If you do both, we recommend that you complete them in this order.


Jill & Hanneke

To complete this tutorial, you will need

Getting started

To get the most out of this tutorial we strongly recommend you start by playing the brief gambling game provided (this is what you need Psychtoolbox for).

  • Start up Matlab and change directories (cd) to the RLtutorial folder
  • To start the game, in the command window type:
    >> cd taskReversalLearn
    >> revlRun(XX)
    Where XXX is a subject number that you can choose yourself, between 100 and 999.
  • Read the instructions carefully and try to do your best in playing the game.
  • When you are done, your data will be saved to the data folder, which also contains the 43 other datasets.

Click here for a debrief on the gambling task - No peeking until you have done the task!