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    Fast, frugal, and rational: How rational norms explain behavior

    Chater, N. and Oaksford, Mike and Nakisa, R. and Redington, M. (2003) Fast, frugal, and rational: How rational norms explain behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 90 (1), pp. 63-86. ISSN 0749-5978.

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    Much research on judgment and decision making has focussed on the adequacy of classical rationality as a description of human reasoning. But more recently it has been argued that classical rationality should also be rejected even as normative standards for human reasoning. For example, Gigerenzer and Goldstein (1996) and Gigerenzer and Todd (1999a) argue that reasoning involves “fast and frugal” algorithms which are not justified by rational norms, but which succeed in the environment. They provide three lines of argument for this view, based on: (A) the importance of the environment; (B) the existence of cognitive limitations; and (C) the fact that an algorithm with no apparent rational basis, Take-the-Best, succeeds in an judgment task (judging which of two cities is the larger, based on lists of features of each city). We reconsider (A)–(C), arguing that standard patterns of explanation in psychology and the social and biological sciences, use rational norms to explain why simple cognitive algorithms can succeed. We also present new computer simulations that compare Take-the-Best with other cognitive models (which use connectionist, exemplar-based, and decision-tree algorithms). Although Take-the-Best still performs well, it does not perform noticeably better than the other models. We conclude that these results provide no strong reason to prefer Take-the-Best over alternative cognitive models.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2016 11:29
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:26


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