Chris L. Baker

Research interests

I build computational models of social cognition: adults' and children's reasoning and behavior during social interaction. In particular, I study theory of mind: our knowledge about the thoughts and mental states of others, such as beliefs, desires and emotions. Much of what we know about other people's thoughts and minds, we must infer, based on observations of their behavior in various contexts. My research has focused on how people make these inferences using a process called inverse planning. Inverse planning assumes that people tend to act rationally to achieve their goals, given an environmental and social context. In other words, we expect others to behave reasonably, sensibly, or at least somewhat intelligently to achieve their desires, given their beliefs about how this may best be done. Inverse planning then uses Bayesian inference, a powerful framework for reasoning under uncertainty, to infer the goals and beliefs underlying other people's observed behavior by inverting models of rational planning.

Papers

  1. Baker, C. L., Jara-Ettinger, J., Saxe, R., and Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Rational quantitative attribution of beliefs, desires and percepts in human mentalizing. Nature Human Behavior, 1(0064).
  2. Gershman, S. J., Gerstenberg, T., Baker, C. L., and Cushman, F. A. (2016). Plans, habits, and theory of mind. PLoS ONE, 11(9).
  3. Krafft, P.M., Baker, C.L., Pentland, A., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2016). Modeling human ad hoc coordination. In Proceedings of the Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.
  4. Nakahashi, R., Baker, C.L., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2016). Modeling human understanding of complex intentional action with a Bayesian nonparametric subgoal model. In Proceedings of the Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.
  5. Wu, Y., Baker, C.L., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Schulz, L.E. (2014). Joint Inferences of Belief and Desire from Facial Expressions. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Sixth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1796-1801).
  6. Baker, C. L. and Tenenbaum, J. B. (2014). Modeling human plan recognition using Bayesian theory of mind. In Sukthankar, G., Goldman, R. P., Geib, C., Pynadath, D., and Bui, H., editors. Plan, activity and intent recognition: Theory and practice. Morgan Kaufmann.
  7. Pantelis, P.C., Baker, C.L., Cholewiak, S.A., Sanik, K., Weinstein, A., Wu, C., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Feldman, J. (2014). Inferring the intentional states of autonomous virtual agents. Cognition, 130, 360-379.
  8. Hamlin, J.K, Ullman, T.D., Tenenbaum, J.B., Goodman, N.D., & Baker C.L. (2013). The mentalistic basis of core social cognition: Experiments in preverbal infants and a computational model. Developmental Science, 16:2, 209-226.
  9. Jara-Ettinger, J., Baker, C.L., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2012). Learning What is Where from Social Observations. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 515-520).
  10. Richardson, H.L., Baker, C.L., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Saxe, R.R. (2012). The Development of Joint Belief-Desire Inferences. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 923-928).
  11. Baker, C.L. (2012). Bayesian Theory of Mind: Modeling human reasoning about beliefs, desires, goals and social relations. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.
  12. Baker, C.L., Saxe, R.R., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2011). Bayesian Theory of Mind: Modeling Joint Belief-Desire Attribution. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2469-2474).
  13. Ullman, T.D., Baker, C.L., Macindoe, O., Evans, O., Goodman, N.D., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2009). Help or hinder: Bayesian models of social goal inference. Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (Vol. 22, pp. 1874-1882).
  14. Baker, C.L., Saxe, R., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2009). Action Understanding as Inverse Planning. Cognition, 113, 329-349. [Supplementary material].
  15. Goodman, N.D., Baker, C.L., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2009). Cause and Intent: Social Reasoning in Causal Learning. In Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2759-2764).
  16. Warner, R.E., Shafto, P., Baker, C., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2009). Abstract Knowledge Guides Search and Prediction in Novel Situations. In Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 869-874).
  17. Baker, C.L., Goodman, N.D., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2008). Theory-based Social Goal Inference. In Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1447-1452).
  18. Baker, C.L., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Saxe, R.R. (2007). Goal Inference as Inverse Planning. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 779-784).
  19. Goodman, N.D., Baker, C.L., Bonawitz, E.B., Mansinghka, V.K., Gopnik, A., Wellman, H., Schulz, L., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2006). Intuitive Theories of Mind: A Rational Approach to False Belief. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1382-1387).
  20. Baker, C.L., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Saxe, R.R. (2006). Bayesian Models of Human Action Understanding. In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (Vol. 18, pp. 99-106). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  21. Shon, A.P., Grimes, D.B., Baker, C.L., Hoffman, M.W., Zhao, S., & Rao, R.P.N. (2005). Probabilistic Gaze Imitation and Saliency Learning in a Robotic Head. In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (pp. 2876-2881).
  22. Shon, A.P., Grimes, D.B., Baker, C.L., & Rao, R.P.N. (2004). A Probabilistic Framework for Model-Based Imitation Learning. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1237-1242).

Selected Abstracts

  1. CogSci Symposium: Developmental and computational perspectives on infant social cognition. CogSci 2010.
  2. Baker, C.L., Goodman, N.D., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2008). How People Understand and Learn From The Goal-Directed Actions of Other Agents. Poster presented at Psychonomics 2008.
  3. Baker, C.L., & Tenenbaum, J.B. (2007). Action Understanding as Inverse Probabilistic Planning. Talk presented at MathPsych 2007.
  4. Baker, C.L., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Saxe, R.R. (2007). Goal Inference as Inverse Planning. MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) Research Abstract.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences