Reasoning the Fast and Frugal Way

Gerd Gigerenzer

in Adaptive Thinking

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153729
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849222 | DOI:

Series: Evolution and Cognition Series

Reasoning the Fast and Frugal Way

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This chapter proposes a class of heuristics that exhibit bounded rationality based on Herbert Simon’s ideas. These “fast and frugal heuristics” operate with simple psychological principles that satisfy the constraints of limited time, knowledge, and computational might, rather than those of classical rationality. At the same time, they are designed to be fast and frugal without a significant loss of inferential accuracy because they can exploit the structure of environments. It begins by describing the task the cognitive heuristics are designed to address, the Take The Best heuristic, and the real-world environment on which its performance will be tested. Next, it reports on a competition in which the heuristic competes with “rational” strategies in making inferences about a real-world environment. Finally, it studies variants of the heuristic that make faster inferences and get by with even less knowledge.

Keywords: inference; Herbert Simon; bounded rationality; reasoning; heuristics

Chapter.  14183 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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