Identifying the optimal response is not a necessary step toward explaining function

Henry Brighton*, Henrik Olsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Oaksford & Chater (O&C) argue that a rational analysis is required to explain why a functional process model is successful, and that, when a rational analysis is intractable, the prospects for understanding cognition from a functional perspective are gloomy. We discuss how functional explanations can be arrived at without seeking the optimal response function demanded by a rational analysis, and argue that explaining function does not require optimality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-+
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes



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