ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2010, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (01): 72-87.

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Five Principles for Studying People’s Use of Heuristics

Julian N. Marewski;Lael J. Schooler and Gerd Gigerenzer   

  1. Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

  • Received:2008-12-18 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2010-01-30 Online:2010-01-30
  • Contact: Julian N. Marewski

Abstract: The fast and frugal heuristics framework assumes that people rely on an adaptive toolbox of simple decision strategies—called heuristics—to make inferences, choices, estimations, and other decisions. Each of these heuristics is tuned to regularities in the structure of the task environment and each is capable of exploiting the ways in which basic cognitive capacities work. In doing so, heuristics enable adaptive behavior. In this article, we give an overview of the framework and formulate five principles that should guide the study of people’s adaptive toolbox. We emphasize that models of heuristics should be (i) precisely defined; (ii) tested comparatively; (iii) studied in line with theories of strategy selection; (iv) evaluated by how well they predict new data; and (vi) tested in the real world in addition to the laboratory.

Key words: fast and frugal heuristics, experimental design, model testing