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www. simplicitytheory.org 1 Simplicity Theory Interest Emotional intensity Interest Emotional intensity Simplicity theory is a cognitive theory Simplicity is known to play a role in cognition. For instance, the brain reconstructs hidden shapes by computing the simplest contours in the current context. Simplicity controls high-level aspects of cognition as well. Situations that are perceived as abnormally simple are exactly those that raise our interest and arouse our emotions. J.-L. Dessalles

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www. simplicitytheory.org 2 Simplicity Theory Complexity: Size of the minimal available description Simplicity Theory: Complexity drop blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah 16 blah Simplicity theory relies on the notion of complexity. Complexity has been defined half a century ago as the size of the most concise description. Simplicity theory is not about complexity, but complexity drop

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www. simplicitytheory.org 3 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Expected complexity Observed complexity Interest Emotional intensity Interest Emotional intensity Complexity drop Unexpectedness ST defines Unexpectedness as the difference between expected complexity and observed complexity. Unexpectedness is what controls interest and emotional intensity.

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www. simplicitytheory.org 4 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Expected complexity Observed complexity Complexity drop Unexpectedness 121724323940 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lottery draw: For instance, a lottery draw is expected to be complex. If it turns out to be simple, for instance 1-2-3-4-5-6, interest is aroused.

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www. simplicitytheory.org 5 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Coincidences Recency Proximity Rarity Extremes Anomalies Interest Emotional intensity Interest Emotional intensity Abnormal simplicity Interest, emotions and unexpectedness seem to depend on a variety of factors. However, all these factors turn out to generate complexity drop.

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www. simplicitytheory.org 6 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Coincidences Recency Proximity Rarity Extremes Anomalies Complex, analogous events Logarithmic decrease with time Simple feature Logarithmic decrease with distance Simple feature predictions Abnormal simplicity ST’s analysis of unexpectedness as complexity drop leads to a variety of predictions.

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www. simplicitytheory.org 7 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Coincidences Recency Proximity Rarity Extremes Anomalies U = C(s 1 ) C (s 2 |s 1 ) U = 2 log(R / d) L = argmin(C(L) + 2log(d L )) U = log(T / t) U = log N – log P – C(f) U = A(k) – C(f) U = C(H) – C(f) predictions Abnormal simplicity These predictions are formal and quantitative.

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www. simplicitytheory.org 8 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs Simplicity Theory’s most spectacular result is a new definition of ex post probability. p = 2 –U

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www. simplicitytheory.org 9 Simplicity Theory U = C exp – C obs www. simplicitytheory.org Visit Simplicity Theory website for more.

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