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Fast, Frugal, and Fit: Simple Heuristics for Paired Comparison

Laura Martignon and Ulrich Hoffrage

in Heuristics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199744282
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0012
Fast, Frugal, and Fit: Simple Heuristics for Paired Comparison

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This chapter provides an overview of recent results on lexicographic, linear, and Bayesian models for paired comparison from a cognitive psychology perspective. Within each class, we distinguish subclasses according to the computational complexity required for parameter setting. This chapter identifies the optimal model in each class, where optimality is defined with respect to performance when fitting known data. Although not optimal when fitting data, simple models can be astonishingly accurate when generalizing to new data. A simple heuristic belonging to the class of lexicographic models is take-the-best (Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996, p. 684). It is more robust than other lexicographic strategies that use complex procedures to establish a cue hierarchy. In fact, it is robust due to its simplicity, not despite it. Similarly, take-the-best looks up only a fraction of the information that linear and Bayesian models require; yet it achieves performance comparable to that of models which integrate information. Due to its simplicity, frugality, and accuracy, take-the-best is a plausible candidate for a psychological model in the tradition of bounded rationality. The chapter reviews empirical evidence showing the descriptive validity of fast-and-frugal heuristics.

Keywords: models; lexicographic; linear; Bayesian; take-the-best; heuristics

Chapter.  8896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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