Should We Use Heuristics?

In psychology, heuristics became associated with errors and contrasted with logical and statistical rules that were believed to define rational thinking in all situations. Yet this view has been questioned for uncertain, large worlds where the assumptions of rational models are not met. We reviewed studies on decisions by individuals and institutions, including business, medical, and legal decision making, that show that heuristics can often be more accurate than complex “rational” strategies. This puts heuristic on a par with statistical methods and emphasizes a new ecological question: In what environment does a given strategy (heuristic or otherwise) succeed?

That’s Gerd Gigerenzer and Wolfgang Gaissmaier in the most recent issue of the Annual Review of Psychology.

One Response to Should We Use Heuristics?

  1. eswarann says:

    The world problem space is increasingly complex, with meager understanding on cause and effects. Mass movements such as in Libya, the Greek Crisis, Sub prime fall out are all evidence to this. Outliers, Black Swam, call what you will conventional approaches are becoming difficult to use. Heuristics, honing of collective skill, learning from nature on swarm behavior seem to offer some solution to the large problems we are facing….

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