LIRa Session: Cedegao Zhang

Speaker: Cedegao Zhang (University of California, Berkeley)

Date and Time: Thursday, June 17th 2021, 15:00-16:30, Amsterdam time.

Venue: online.

Title: A Computational Model of Higher-Order Epistemic Reasoning.

Abstract. Reasoning about what other people know is an important cognitive ability, known as epistemic reasoning, which has fascinated psychologists, economists, and logicians. We propose a computational model of humans’ epistemic reasoning, including higher-order epistemic reasoning—reasoning about what one person knows about another person’s knowledge—that we test in an experiment using a deductive card game called “Aces and Eights”. Our starting point is the model of perfect higher-order epistemic reasoners given by the framework of dynamic epistemic logic. We modify this idealized model with bounds on the level of feasible epistemic reasoning and stochastic update of a player’s space of possibilities in response to new information. These modifications are crucial for explaining the variation in human performance across different participants and different games in the experiment. Our results demonstrate how research on epistemic logic and cognitive models can inform each other.

This is a joint work with Ham Huang and Wesley Holliday. A preprint is available at