What is the nature of human wisdom? For many, the ideal image of sapiens is a heavenly one: an omniscient God, a Laplacean demon, a supercomputer, or a fully consistent logical system. Gerd Gigerenzer argues, in contrast, that there are more efficient tools than logic in our minds, which he calls fast and frugal heuristics. These adaptive tools work in a world where the present is only partially known and the future is uncertain. Here, rationality is not logical but ecological, and this volume shows how this insight can help remedy even the widespread problem of statistical innumeracy.RATIONALITY FOR MORTALS (which follows on a previous collection, ADAPTIVE THINKING, also published by OUP) presents Gigerenzer's most recent articles, revised and updated where appropriate, together with a newly written introduction.
Author: Gerd Gigerenzer
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Release Date: 2002-03-07
Where do new ideas come from? What is social intelligence? Why do social scientists perform mindless statistical rituals? Most importantly, what counts as adaptive thinking as our minds try to cope with the world around us?
Originally published in 1987, this title is about theory construction in psychology. Where theories come from, as opposed to how they become established, was almost a no-man’s land in the history and philosophy of science at the time. The authors argue that in the science of mind, theories are particularly likely to come from tools, and they are especially concerned with the emergence of the metaphor of the mind as an intuitive statistician. In the first chapter, the authors discuss the rise of the inference revolution, which institutionalized those statistical tools that later became theories of cognitive processes. In each of the four following chapters they treat one major topic of cognitive psychology and show to what degree statistical concepts transformed their understanding of those topics.
Author: Gerd Gigerenzer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-11-10
Genre: Social Science
At the beginning of the twentieth century, H. G. Wells predicted that statistical thinking would be as necessary for citizenship in a technological world as the ability to read and write. But in the twenty-first century, we are often overwhelmed by a baffling array of percentages and probabilities as we try to navigate in a world dominated by statistics. Cognitive scientist Gerd Gigerenzer says that because we haven't learned statistical thinking, we don't understand risk and uncertainty. In order to assess risk -- everything from the risk of an automobile accident to the certainty or uncertainty of some common medical screening tests -- we need a basic understanding of statistics. Astonishingly, doctors and lawyers don't understand risk any better than anyone else. Gigerenzer reports a study in which doctors were told the results of breast cancer screenings and then were asked to explain the risks of contracting breast cancer to a woman who received a positive result from a screening. The actual risk was small because the test gives many false positives. But nearly every physician in the study overstated the risk. Yet many people will have to make important health decisions based on such information and the interpretation of that information by their doctors. Gigerenzer explains that a major obstacle to our understanding of numbers is that we live with an illusion of certainty. Many of us believe that HIV tests, DNA fingerprinting, and the growing number of genetic tests are absolutely certain. But even DNA evidence can produce spurious matches. We cling to our illusion of certainty because the medical industry, insurance companies, investment advisers, and election campaigns have become purveyors of certainty, marketing it like a commodity. To avoid confusion, says Gigerenzer, we should rely on more understandable representations of risk, such as absolute risks. For example, it is said that a mammography screening reduces the risk of breast cancer by 25 percent. But in absolute risks, that means that out of every 1,000 women who do not participate in screening, 4 will die; while out of 1,000 women who do, 3 will die. A 25 percent risk reduction sounds much more significant than a benefit that 1 out of 1,000 women will reap. This eye-opening book explains how we can overcome our ignorance of numbers and better understand the risks we may be taking with our money, our health, and our lives.
Where do new ideas come from? What is social intelligence? Why do social scientists perform mindless statistical rituals? This vital book is about rethinking rationality as adaptive thinking: to understand how minds cope with their environments, both ecological and social. Gerd Gigerenzer proposes and illustrates a bold new research program that investigates the psychology of rationality, introducing the concepts of ecological, bounded, and social rationality. His path-breaking collection takes research on thinking, social intelligence, creativity, and decision-making out of an ethereal world where the laws of logic and probability reign, and places it into our real world of human behavior and interaction. Adaptive Thinking is accessibly written for general readers with an interest in psychology, cognitive science, economics, sociology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, and animal behavior. It also teaches a practical audience, such as physicians, AIDS counselors, and experts in criminal law, how to understand and communicate uncertainties and risks.
Author: Peter M. Todd
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2012-04-10
"More information is always better, and full information is best. More computation is always better, and optimization is best." More-is-better ideals such as these have long shaped our vision of rationality. Yet humans and other animals typically rely on simple heuristics to solve adaptive problems, focusing on one or a few important cues and ignoring the rest, and shortcutting computation rather than striving for as much as possible. In this book, we argue that in an uncertain world, more information and computation are not always better, and we ask when, and why, less can be more. The answers to these questions constitute the idea of ecological rationality: how we are able to achieve intelligence in the world by using simple heuristics matched to the environments we face, exploiting the structures inherent in our physical, biological, social, and cultural surroundings.
Author: Keith Blacker
Publisher: Kogan Page Publishers
Release Date: 2015-04-03
Genre: Business & Economics
People Risk Management provides unique depth to a topic that has garnered intense interest in recent years. Based on the latest thinking in corporate governance, behavioural economics, human resources and operational risk, people risk can be defined as the risk that people do not follow the organization's procedures, practices and/or rules, thus deviating from expected behaviour in a way that could damage the business's performance and reputation. From fraud to bad business decisions, illegal activity to lax corporate governance, people risk - often called conduct risk - presents a growing challenge in today's complex, dispersed business organizations. Framed by corporate events and challenges and including case studies from the LIBOR rate scandal, the BP oil spill, Lehman Brothers, Royal Bank of Scotland and Enron, People Risk Management provides best-practice guidance to managing risks associated with the behaviour of both employees and those outside a company. It offers practical tools, real-world examples, solutions and insights into how to implement an effective people risk management framework within an organization.
Are ordinary people able to reason with risk? Detailing case histories and examples, this text presents readers with tools for understanding statistics. In so doing, it encourages us to overcome our innumeracy and empowers us to take responsibility for our own choices.
This book compiles key articles of the simple heuristics program published across journals in different disciplines. It introduces the evolution and structure of the program, and puts each of the articles into context by short introductions. These articles present theory, real-world applications, and a sample of the large number of existing experimental studies that provide evidence for people's adaptive use of heuristics.
Author: Mike Oaksford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2007-02-22
For almost 2,500 years, the Western concept of what is to be human has been dominated by the idea that the mind is the seat of reason - humans are, almost by definition, the rational animal. In this text a more radical suggestion for explaining these puzzling aspects of human reasoning is put forward.
How do people, animals, and institutions make decisions in a complex and uncertain world? Rational choice theory answers this question from the perspective of an omniscient and omnipotent superintelligence that decides by optimizing. In contrast, this book promotes the concept of the "adaptive toolbox," a repertoire of fast and frugal heuristics for real people with limited time, knowledge, and resources. It views bounded rationality neither as optimality under constraints nor as the study of people's reasoning fallacies. The strategies in the adaptive toolbox dispense with optimization and, for the most part, with calculations of probabilities and utilities. The book extends the concept of bounded rationality from cognitive tools to emotions; it analyzes social norms, imitation, and other cultural tools as rational strategies; and it shows how smart strategies can exploit the structures of environments. It brings together experts from cognitive science, economics, evolutionary biology, and anthropology to create an interdisciplinary basis for understanding the adaptive toolbox
Author: Gerd Gigerenzer
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011-03-25
Contrary to popular opinion, one of the main problems in providing uniformly excellent health care is not lack of money but lack of knowledge -- on the part of both doctors and patients. The studies in this book show that many doctors and most patients do not understand the available medical evidence. Both patients and doctors are "risk illiterate" -- frequently unable to tell the difference between actual risk and relative risk. Further, unwarranted disparity in treatment decisions is the rule rather than the exception in the United States and Europe. All of this contributes to much wasted spending in health care. The contributors to Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions investigate the roots of the problem, from the emphasis in medical research on technology and blockbuster drugs to the lack of education for both doctors and patients. They call for a new, more enlightened health care, with better medical education, journals that report study outcomes completely and transparently, and patients in control of their personal medical records, not afraid of statistics but able to use them to make informed decisions about their treatments.
Statistical illiteracy can have an enormously negative impact on decision making. This volume of collected papers brings together applied and theoretical research on risks and decision making across the fields of medicine, psychology, and economics. Collectively, the essays demonstrate why the frame in which statistics are communicated is essential for broader understanding and sound decision making, and that understanding risks and uncertainty has wide-reaching implications for daily life. Gerd Gigerenzer provides a lucid review and catalog of concrete instances of heuristics, or rules of thumb, that people and animals rely on to make decisions under uncertainty, explaining why these are very often more rational than probability models. After a critical look at behavioral theories that do not model actual psychological processes, the book concludes with a call for a "heuristic revolution" that will enable us to understand the ecological rationality of both statistics and heuristics, and bring a dose of sanity to the study of rationality.
Author: Gary L Albrecht
Release Date: 2003
This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues. Readers recei