Rachit Dubey

rdubey at princeton dot edu google scholar

I am a fifth year PhD student at Princeton where I am part of Tom Griffiths' Computational Cognitive Science Lab.

Even in the absence of external rewards like money or food, we have internal motives that drive us to acquire information, pursue tasks, learn new things etc. What is it that drives us? Under what conditions do these drives become maladaptive? In my work, I employ computational modeling, behavioral experiments, and agent-based simulations to help develop a more complete picture of our intrinsic drives and motivations.

In my graduate work, I have focused on developing normative theories of curiosity and Aha! moments as well as developed some interventions to pique people's curiosity for everyday scientific topics. In my current line of work, I am studying the motives that drive us to keep wanting more, even if it leads to depression, materialism, and overconsumption. Beyond theoretical value, I hope this line of work can have impact on problems related to climate change and sustainability especially on curbing overconsumption.

In the past, I have also been involved with the Princeton Student Climate Initiative and the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any ideas or want to colloborate on projects related to sustainability and fighting climate change.

Here's a tribute written in the memory of my friend who got me started into research


Selected publications

Aha! moments correspond to meta-cognitive prediction errors
Rachit Dubey, Mark Ho, Hermish Mehta, and Tom Griffiths (under revision)

The pursuit of happiness: A reinforcement learning perspective on habituation and comparisons
Rachit Dubey, Tom Griffiths, and Peter Dayan (in press). PLoS Computational Biology

If it's important, then I'm curious: Increasing perceived usefulness stimulates curiosity
Rachit Dubey, Tom Griffiths, and Tania Lombrozo (2022). Cognition

Curiosity is Contagious: A Social Influence Intervention to Induce Curiosity
Rachit Dubey, Hermish Mehta, and Tania Lombrozo (2021). Cognitive Science

Reconciling novelty and complexity through a rational analysis of curiosity
Rachit Dubey, and Tom Griffiths (2020). Psychological Review

See also: Spotlight in TiCS and our review paper.

Investigating Human Priors for Playing Video Games
Rachit Dubey, Pulkit Agrawal, Deepak Pathak, Tom Griffiths, and Alexei Efros (2018).
International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML)

Selected Media: MIT Tech Review, Hitech, Slashdot

Play our games to explore your inner RL agent!

Watch the Arxiv Insights episode on our paper.