NCBI ROFL: How your brain is like Google.

By ncbi rofl | April 26, 2012 7:00 pm

Google and the mind: predicting fluency with PageRank.

“Human memory and Internet search engines face a shared computational problem, needing to retrieve stored pieces of information in response to a query. We explored whether they employ similar solutions, testing whether we could predict human performance on a fluency task using PageRank, a component of the Google search engine. In this task, people were shown a letter of the alphabet and asked to name the first word beginning with that letter that came to mind. We show that PageRank, computed on a semantic network constructed from word-association data, outperformed word frequency and the number of words for which a word is named as an associate as a predictor of the words that people produced in this task. We identify two simple process models that could support this apparent correspondence between human memory and Internet search, and relate our results to previous rational models of memory.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Felipe Micaroni Lalli

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: NCBI ROFL, teh interwebs
  • http://profiles.google.com/rjvg50 Kirk Holden

    Paging Dr. Metcalfe.

  • Old Rockin’ Dave

    If only there was some way to defrag my brain!

    • http://discovermagazine.com/ DISCOVER magazine

      Funny you mention that, Dave! We’re working on a story about that right now. Check The Crux next week: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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