A Tutorial on Kernel Methods for Categorization




The abilities to learn and to categorize are fundamental for cognitive systems, be it animals or machines, and therefore have attracted attention from engineers and psychologists alike. Modern machine learning methods and psychological models of categorization are remarkably similar, partly because these two fields share a common history in artificial neural networks and reinforcement learning. However, machine learning is now an independent and mature field that has moved beyond psychologically or neurally inspired algorithms towards providing foundations for a theory of learning that is rooted in statistics and functional analysis. Much of this research is potentially interesting for psychological theories of learning and categorization but also hardly accessible for psychologists. Here, we provide a tutorial introduction to a popular class of machine learning tools, called kernel methods. These methods are closely related to perceptrons, radial-basis-function neural networks and exemplar theories of catego rization. Recent theoretical advances in machine learning are closely tied to the idea that the similarity of patterns can be encapsulated in a positive definite kernel. Such a positive definite kernel can define a reproducing kernel Hilbert space which allows one to use powerful tools from functional analysis for the analysis of learning algorithms. We give basic explanations of some key concepts—the so-called kernel trick, the representer theorem and regularization—which may open up the possibility that insights from machine learning can feed back into psychology.

Author(s): Jäkel, F. and Schölkopf, B. and Wichmann, FA.
Journal: Journal of Mathematical Psychology
Volume: 51
Number (issue): 6
Pages: 343-358
Year: 2007
Month: December
Day: 0

Department(s): Empirical Inference
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

Digital: 0
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmp.2007.06.002
Language: en
Organization: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
School: Biologische Kybernetik

Links: PDF


  title = {A Tutorial on Kernel Methods for Categorization},
  author = {J{\"a}kel, F. and Sch{\"o}lkopf, B. and Wichmann, FA.},
  journal = {Journal of Mathematical Psychology},
  volume = {51},
  number = {6},
  pages = {343-358},
  organization = {Max-Planck-Gesellschaft},
  school = {Biologische Kybernetik},
  month = dec,
  year = {2007},
  month_numeric = {12}