Heuristics in judgment and decision-making

But this book is not only about the wrong interpretation of probabilities, it shows the limits of probability theory by introducing (at least for me the distinction was new) the distinction of risk and uncertainty. When dealing with risk one can usually calculate probabilities as all relevant factors are known, while in situations of uncertainty it is not good to apply probability theory but thumb rules and trust your intuition.

gerd gigerenzer wiki

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Given these findings, it would be useful to know whether similar patterns can be observed in Wikipedia, a user-generated encyclopedia, that has become a popular information source among college students (Head and Eisenberg, 2010; Lim, 2009). Currently, however, little is known about what peripheral cues college students use in judging the credibility of Wikipedia articles, and whether certain peripheral cues influence their credibility judgments of Wikipedia, especially when they do not have sufficient knowledge of the topic of the article.

The selection of Wikipedia articles for the current experiment was more focused on whether the topics were either an information or entertainment-driven genre rather than on whether the topics were controversial. In fact, researchers suggest that the topics for credibility research need to be controversial enough to raise questions about credibility (Hu and Sundar, 2010). Further research is needed to examine the effect of the same independent variables (peripheral cues and genre) on credibility judgments, employing articles of more controversial topics than the current ones.

I love Gigerenzer’s vision of educating people in health, financial, and digital risk literacy. I thought this was a decent book.

But it demands much of human behavior – much more in fact than it can usually deliver. If we were to imagine the vast collection of decision problems economic agents might conceivably deal with as a sea or an ocean, with the easier problems on top and more complicated ones at increasing depth, then deductive rationality would describe human behavior accurately only within a few feet of the surface. For example, the game Tic-Tac-Toe is simple, and we can readily find a perfectly rational, minimax solution to it.

That is, in digital environments, the standards of quality control are less rigorous than in traditional information sources, and the origin of information, the context of information, and the distinctions among sources and media messages are less clear than ever before (Eysenbach, 2008; Flanagin and Metzger, 2008; Harris, 2008). Digital information allows people to be more self-sufficient; however, it ironically renders people more responsible for making information decisions (Lankes, 2008). These unique characteristics of digital information make its credibility assessment difficult and require Internet users to develop new information literacy skills for making appropriate information decisions. In recent years educators and researchers have acknowledged this problem by paying a great deal of attention to credibility issues in digital environments. The book presents less evidence for statistical ignorance and manipulation in the financial than the medical world, not because Gigerenzer thinks bankers are any more risk savvy than physicians but because he has less experience of working with them.

For instance, students in user education or references courses can contribute to external links of Wikipedia as course projects. This literature suggests that both the objective and subjective elements of credibility influence users’ credibility judgments of Wikipedia articles.

It was found that when questioned about maps imaging, distancing, etc., people commonly made distortions to images. These distortions took shape in the regularization of images (i.e., images are represented as more like pure abstract geometric images, though they are irregular in shape). Familiarity heuristic – A mental shortcut applied to various situations in which individuals assume that the circumstances underlying the past behavior still hold true for the present situation and that the past behavior thus can be correctly applied to the new situation. Especially prevalent when the individual experiences a high cognitive load.

It also provides the tools we need to move toward a risk-savvy society. Apart from author’s reasoning about the gut heuristics, which is really interesting, the book has some other good material on risk, uncertainty and probabilities.

Instead, the second-best information may sufficiently satisfy (“satisfice”) their needs, leading to cessation of further efforts or actions, including verification. In other words, as far as Internet users obtain satisficing information that exceeds their aspiration level of information, they may not have an incentive to verify the information or to seek further information. By acknowledging these phenomena, this study attempted to examine whether the theory of bounded rationality (Gigerenzer and Selten, 2002; Simon, 1955; Simon, 1997a) can explain verification (especially, non-verification) behavior concerning Wikipedia. How do humans make inferences about their world with limited time and knowledge?. Gigerenzer’s answer is that in an uncertain world, probability theory is not sufficient; people also use smart heuristics, that is, rules of thumb.

gerd gigerenzer wiki

For instance, the University of Washington Libraries use this strategy to reach out to students (Lally and Dunford, 2007). Educators themselves can introduce a quality of external Internet sources by posting such external sources to relevant Wikipedia articles as external links. In addition, library educators can use the feature of external links for educational purposes.

I think every person would benefit from reading this book, and I highly agree with the author that schools need to be revolutionized to teach risk literacy. (This would be an excellent book to incorporate into a high school reading list.) He outlines his proposed curriculum, including Health Literacy, Financial Literacy, and Digital Risk Competence, as well as the skills required for mastering each topic (statistical thinking, rules of thumb, and psychology of risk). I would love to have/read the textbooks for such classes, as I want my daughter to have such an education.

Instead, humans examine alternatives sequentially and continue their search process until a satisfactory alternative that meets or exceeds their aspiration level is found. These aspiration levels are not fixed, but are adjusted to the situation in the sequence of trials. The aspiration levels rise if satisfactory alternatives are easy to find, and fall if they are difficult to acquire (Simon, 1955). In other words, humans operate within the limits of bounded rationality and simplify the choices available in making decisions (Todd, 2002), displaying a stimulus-response pattern more than a choice among alternatives (Simon, 1997a).

For example, most people want to get the most useful products at the lowest price; because of this, they will judge the benefits of a certain object (for example, how useful is it or how attractive is it) compared to those of similar objects. They will then compare prices (or costs). In general, people will choose the object that provides the greatest reward at the lowest cost. The model of rational decision making assumes that the decision maker has full or perfect information about alternatives; it also assumes they have the time, cognitive ability, and resources to evaluate each choice against the others.

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