Two social sciences graduate students have been named recipients of the Justine Lambert Prize, recognizing their outstanding work addressing foundations of the formal, natural, or social sciences. Alexander Etz, cognitive sciences, and Travis LaCroix, logic and philosophy of science, will share the honor, which includes a $1000 stipend for each recipient.

Etz, who earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from The George Washington University before coming to UCI, submitted his paper that addresses the origins of a specific kind of statistical hypothesis test. In it, he highlights historical developments that “gave rise to the Bayes factor for testing a point null hypothesis against a composite alternative.” Etz has determined that J.B.S. Haldane, a well-known early 20th century scientist, may have played a larger role in the development of the Bayes factor hypothesis test (a Bayesian alternative to traditional hypothesis testing) than previously thought.

His fellow Lambert Prize winner, LaCroix, came to UCI after earning his M.A. from Simon Fraser University in Canada. His winning paper, which was recently published in Synthese, “introduces an extension of the Lewis-Skyrms signaling game, analyzed from a dynamical perspective via simple reinforcement learning.” This extension introduces a variable parameter allowing for degrees of salience, which LaCroix says fills an explanatory gap in existing models.




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