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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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Empirical Tests of a Fast-and-Frugal Heuristic: Not Everyone “Takes-the-Best”

Empirical Tests of a Fast-and-Frugal Heuristic: Not Everyone “Takes-the-Best”

(p.383) Chapter 18 Empirical Tests of a Fast-and-Frugal Heuristic: Not Everyone “Takes-the-Best”

Ben R. Newell

Nicola J. Weston

David R. Shanks

Oxford University Press

The fast-and-frugal heuristics approach to decision making under uncertainty advocated by Gigerenzer and colleagues (e.g., Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996) has achieved great popularity despite a relative lack of empirical validation. This chapter reports two experiments that examine the use of one particular heuristic—“take-the-best” (TTB). In both experiments the majority of participants adopted frugal strategies, but only one-third (33%) behaved in a manner completely consistent with TTB's search, stopping and decision rules. Furthermore, a significant proportion of participants in both experiments adopted a nonfrugal strategy in which they accumulated more information than was predicted by TTB's stopping rule. The results provide an insight into the conditions under which different heuristics are used, and question the predictive power of the fast-and-frugal approach.

Keywords:   bounded rationality, fast-and-frugal heuristics, take-the-best, behavioral strategies

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