Book

Heuristics

Edited by Gerd Gigerenzer, Ralph Hertwig and Thorsten Pachur

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.001.0001
Heuristics

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How do people make decisions when time is limited, information unreliable, and the future uncertain? Based on the work of Herbert A. Simon and with the help of colleagues around the world, the Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) Group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin has developed a research program on simple heuristics, also known as fast and frugal heuristics. These heuristics are efficient cognitive processes that ignore information and exploit the structure of the environment. In contrast to the widely held view that less complex processing necessarily reduces accuracy, the analytical and empirical analyses of fast and frugal heuristics demonstrate that less information and computation can in fact improve accuracy. These results represent an existence proof that cognitive processes capable of successful performance in the real world do not need to satisfy the classical norms of rationality. Thus, simple heuristics embody ecological rather than logical rationality. By providing a fresh look at how the mind works as well as the nature of rational behavior, the simple heuristics approach has stimulated a large body of research, led to fascinating applications in diverse fields from law to medicine to business to sports, and instigated controversial debates in psychology, philosophy, and economics. This book contains key chapters that have been previously published in journals across many disciplines. These chapters present theory, real-world applications, and a sample of the large number of existing experimental studies that provide evidence for people's adaptive use of simple heuristics.

Keywords: decision making; ecological rationality; heuristics; inference

Book.  872 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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