How Good Are Fast and Frugal Heuristics?

Gerd Gigerenzer, Jean Czerlinski and Laura Martignon

in Common Sense, Reasoning, and Rationality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147667
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785865 | DOI:

Series: New Directions in Cognitive Science (formerly Vancouver Studies in Cognitive Science)

 How Good Are Fast and Frugal Heuristics?

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This chapter argues that models of reasonable and rational judgment should look outside the mind to the structure of the environment in which the mind must operate. The everyday world presents reasoners with finite computational resources and limited time to solve problems for which there is often scarce and uncertain information. Problem-solving heuristics that are fast and frugal would seem particularly effective in such environments. Using several real-world data sets, it is shown in this chapter that certain fast and frugal heuristics performed nearly as accurately as and sometimes better than optimality methods (such as decision models that employ linear and multiple regression techniques). Such heuristics are ecologically valid satisficing strategies, that is, information-processing strategies that are effective for the real-world environment in which people must render most of their decisions.

Keywords: metareasoning; judgement; heuristics; information processing; problem-solving

Chapter.  11409 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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