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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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Homo heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences

Homo heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences

Chapter:
(p.2) Chapter 1 Homo heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences
Source:
Heuristics
Author(s):

Gerd Gigerenzer (Contributor Webpage)

Henry Brighton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.003.0001

Heuristics are efficient cognitive processes that ignore information. In contrast to the widely held view that less processing reduces accuracy, the study of heuristics shows that less information, computation, and time can in fact improve accuracy. This chapter reviews the major progress made so far: (a) the discovery of less-is-more effects; (b) the study of the ecological rationality of heuristics, which examines in which environments a given strategy succeeds or fails, and why; (c) an advancement from vague labels to computational models of heuristics; (d) the development of a systematic theory of heuristics that identifies their building blocks and the evolved capacities they exploit, and views the cognitive system as relying on an “adaptive toolbox;” and (e) the development of an empirical methodology that accounts for individual differences, conducts competitive tests, and has provided evidence for people's adaptive use of heuristics. Homo heuristicus has a biased mind and ignores part of the available information, yet a biased mind can handle uncertainty more efficiently and robustly than an unbiased mind relying on more resource-intensive and general-purpose processing strategies.

Keywords:   heuristics, decision making, inferences, rationality, uncertainity, induction

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