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Ecological RationalityIntelligence in the World$
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Peter M. Todd and Gerd Gigerenzer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195315448

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195315448.001.0001

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What Is Ecological Rationality?

What Is Ecological Rationality?

(p.3) 1 What Is Ecological Rationality?
Ecological Rationality

Peter M. Todd

Gerd Gigerenzer

Oxford University Press

In our uncertain world, more information and computation do not always yield better decisions—simple heuristics that employ few cues and little processing can often match or beat optimizing strategies. This chapter explores when and why less can be more in decision making, through the study of the ecological rationality of decision mechanisms used in appropriate contexts. Ecological rationality appears when the structure of boundedly rational decision mechanisms matches the structure of information in the environment. The chapter introduces the ways that heuristic mechanisms are constructed, the types of information structure they can be applied to, and how to study the intelligent, adaptive behavior that emerges from the interaction of both mind and world.

Keywords:   ecological rationality, heuristics, decision making, environment structure, less-is-more, optimization, recognition, evolved behavior, robustness, uncertainty

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