Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the diverse roles that causal knowledge plays in reinforcement learning. The first half of the chapter contrasts a “model-free” system that learns to repeat actions that lead to reward with a “model-based” system that learns a probabilistic causal model of the environment, which it then uses to plan action sequences. Evidence suggests that these two systems coexist in the brain, both competing and cooperating with each other. The interplay of two systems allows the brain to negotiate a balance between cognitively cheap but inaccurate model-free algorithms and accurate but expensive model-based algorithms. The second half of the chapter reviews research on hidden state inference in reinforcement learning. The problem of inferring hidden states can be construed in terms of inferring the latent causes that give rise to sensory data and rewards. Because hidden state inference affects both model-based and model-free reinforcement learning, causal knowledge impinges upon both systems.

Keywords: causal knowledge, learning, reinforcement learning, environment, brain

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.