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HeuristicsThe Foundations of Adaptive Behavior$
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Gerd Gigerenzer, Ralph Hertwig, and Thorsten Pachur

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.001.0001

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How Forgetting Aids Heuristic Inference

How Forgetting Aids Heuristic Inference

Chapter:
(p.84) Chapter 4 How Forgetting Aids Heuristic Inference
Source:
Heuristics
Author(s):

Lael J. Schooler

Ralph Hertwig (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0004

Some theorists, ranging from W. James (1890) to contemporary psychologists, have argued that forgetting is the key to proper functioning of memory. The chapter elaborates on the notion of beneficial forgetting by proposing that loss of information aids inference heuristics that exploit mnemonic information. To this end, the chapter brings together two research programs that take an ecological approach to studying cognition. Specifically, it implements fast-and-frugal heuristics within the ACT-R cognitive architecture. Simulations of the recognition heuristic, which relies on systematic failures of recognition to infer which of two objects scores higher on a criterion value, demonstrate that forgetting can boost accuracy by increasing the chances that only one object is recognized. Simulations of the fluency heuristic, which arrives at the same inference on the basis of the speed with which objects are recognized, indicate that forgetting aids the discrimination between the objects' recognition speeds.

Keywords:   memory, heuristics, forgetting, recognition, fluency, ACT-R

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