Chapter

Fluency Heuristic: A Model of How the Mind Exploits a By-Product of Information Retrieval

Ralph Hertwig, Stefan M. Herzog, Lael J. Schooler and Torsten Reimer

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/9780199744282.003.0026
Fluency Heuristic: A Model of How the Mind Exploits a By-Product of Information Retrieval

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Boundedly rational heuristics for inference can be surprisingly accurate and frugal for several reasons. They can exploit environmental structures, co-opt complex capacities, and elude effortful search by exploiting information that automatically arrives on the mental stage. The fluency heuristic is a prime example of a heuristic that makes the most of an automatic by-product of retrieval from memory, namely, retrieval fluency. In four experiments, the authors show that retrieval fluency can be a proxy for real-world quantities, that people can discriminate between two objects' retrieval fluencies, and that people's inferences are in line with the fluency heuristic (in particular, fast inferences) and with experimentally manipulated fluency. the chapter concludes that the fluency heuristic may be one tool in the mind's repertoire of strategies that artfully probes memory for encapsulated frequency information that can veridically reflect statistical regularities in the world.

Keywords: fluency; fluency heuristic; recognition heuristic; ecological rationality; ACT-R

Chapter.  10665 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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