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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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When Simple Is Hard to Accept

When Simple Is Hard to Accept

Chapter:
3 When Simple Is Hard to Accept
Source:
Ecological Rationality
Author(s):

Robin M. Hogarth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195315448.003.0024

This chapter addresses implications of the application of simple heuristics. In general, people find it hard to accept that simple decision rules can be used to resolve seemingly complex problems. As a consequence, good, simple ideas are slow to be accepted, even by methodologically sophisticated researchers. To illustrate, the chapter presents four case studies from the decision-making literature. They all demonstrate how simple methods were originally met with disdain when first introduced, and even today are not fully appreciated. The four cases involve “clinical vs. statistical” prediction, forecasting accuracy, the use of equal weights, and the idea that decisions can be improved by ignoring some relevant information. There is still some cause for optimism: Decision-making practitioners are willing to test simple rules, and good rules will eventually thrive in the marketplace of ideas. Immediate acceptance, however, should not be expected.

Keywords:   simplicity, complexity, heuristics, clinical judgment, statistical prediction, equal weights, ignoring information, practitioners, innovation

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