This groundbreaking book gives a fascinating account of how people really make decisions under real-world conditions. It provides a new, more psychologically plausible notion of rationality that is based on heuristics-simple rules for making decisions using realistic mental resources. It looks at when and how such simple heuristics work, compares decisions based on single and multiple reasons, and describes the benefits in some situations of having only limited
knowledge. Simple Heuristics shows how heuristics can yield adaptive decisions in situations as varied as choosing a mate, dividing resources among offspring, predicting high school drop-out rates, and playing the stock market. Researchers in cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and cognitive
science, as well as economics and artificial intelligence, will find this book both useful and thought provoking.
Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart invites readers to embark on a new journey into a land of rationality that differs from the familiar territory of cognitive science and economics. Traditional views of rationality tend to see decision makers as possessing superhuman powers of reason, limitless knowledge, and all of eternity in which to ponder choices. To understand decisions in the real world, we need a different, more psychologically plausible notion
of rationality, and this book provides it. It is about fast and frugal heuristics-simple rules for making decisions when time is pressing and deep thought an unaffordable luxury. These heuristics can enable both living organisms and artificial systems to make smart choices, classifications, and predictions by
employing bounded rationality.
But when and how can such fast and frugal heuristics work? Can judgments based simply on one good reason be as accurate as those based on many reasons? Could less knowledge even lead to systematically better predictions than more knowledge? Simple Heuristics explores these questions, developing computational models of heuristics and testing them through experiments and analyses. It shows how fast and frugal heuristics can produce adaptive decisions in situations as varied as
choosing a mate, dividing resources among offspring, predicting high school drop out rates, and playing the stock market.
As an interdisciplinary work that is both useful and engaging, this book will appeal to a wide audience. It is ideal for researchers in cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and cognitive science, as well as in economics and artificial intelligence. It will also inspire anyone interested in simply making good decisions.
"How do people cope in the real, complex world of confusing and overwhelming information and rapidly approaching deadlines? This important book starts a new quest for answers. Here, Gigerenzer, Todd, and their lively research group show that simple heuristics are powerful tools that do surprisingly well. The field of decision making will never be the same again."-Donald A. Norman, author of Things That Make Us Smart and The Invisible Computer