Efficient Cognition Through Limited Search
In psychology, there has been a puzzling preference for theories that ignore search and stopping. In judgment and decision-making research, for instance, many approaches, including expected utility theories, prospect theory, and multiple cue probability learning, do not model information search. This chapter addresses this lapse from the perspective of ecological rationality, providing a conceptual framework for limited search, including models of search and stopping rules. Some environments present information simultaneously, others sequentially, and different decision tools will work better or worse depending on this and other aspects of the environment structure. Three questions are addressed: Which rules for information search and stopping do humans possess? In which environmental structures is a given search or stopping rule ecologically rational? Do people adapt their search and stopping rules to environmental structures?
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