Heuristics and Human Cognition Essay - Essay Prowess

Heuristics and Human Cognition Essay


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The Overview of Heuristics and Human Cognition.

  1. Act Play.

Kahneman arranged to meet with Gerd Gigerenzer to discuss their perspectives and thoughts based on Heuristics and Human Cognition while taking coffee. Each one of them thought he was right in one way or another based on the explanation they had; however, they could agree on a few things which seemed related but differ on the other. According to Gerd Gigerenzer, heuristics refers to the efficient cognitive process responsible for ignoring information; furthermore, he thinks that the heuristics aspect shows that less information, computation, and time are a major influence on accuracy. However, homo heuristics have a biased mind and tend to ignore parts of the available information, yet a biased mind handles uncertainty more efficiently than an unbiased mind relying on more resources both intensive and general purpose of processing, (Gigerenzer, p.107.) On the other hand, Amos Tversky researched intuitive judgment and decision making, which he analyzed based on two categories; the first one was, the analysis of accessibility, which was concerned with the ease to which thoughts come to mind, and the second one was a distinction between effortless intuition and deliberate reasoning. Kahneman says that these variations in the accessibility of rules help in explaining how correctness is occasionally used in intuitive judgment and that his ideas are that biases are compatible with the view of intuitive thinking and decision making as generally skilled and successful, (Kahneman, p. 697.) Thus, based on the above information, it is clear that the two had a little difference in how they viewed the human understanding of mind and intelligence and had some differences and similarities. Kahneman had already arrived at the coffee shop where they had planned to meet but his friend Gigerenzer had not yet arrived. It did not take long though before he arrived.

Gigerenzer: Good morning Sir. Apologies for being late. I had a mechanical problem with my car.

Kahneman: Good morning too. Better late than never, I had already started getting worried, but, here you are I guess we can begin. You had previously called me asking about how I came up with the idea of intuition judgment? Well,Tversky and I conducted research and institution and accessibility with the idea that intuitive judgments occupy a position between the automatic operation of perception and the deliberate operations reasoning, (Kahneman, p. 697.)

Gigerenzer: According to your research, you said that the conformity of the expertise between intuitive judgments was unable to be revealed. Why do you think this was the case?

Kahneman: They could not conform because of the statistical inferences and their estimates of the statistical power which showed a striking lack of sensitivity to the effects of sample size.

Gigerenzer: I also disagree with that fact because, as far as we know, all animals have always relied on heuristics to solve adaptive problems, which brings on the same analog to human beings. I say this because statistically determining the intuitive approach of humans will not be possible if one wants to understand the behaviors of humans and animals in general, (Gigerenzer,p.107) Also, the research was based on the sample, and what we all know samples are just like a representation of a smaller group of people, thus concluding and making judgments based on the intuitive which occupy a position between the automatic operation of perception and the deliberate operations reasoning will be inaccurate. I also understand that under appropriate circumstances a core property of many intuitive thoughts comes to mind spontaneously like percepts. Would you mind clarifying that?

Kahneman: Of course. Understanding that you will need to understand why some thoughts come to mind more easily than others, why some ideas arise effortlessly, while others demand to work. It is better to know that a thought is accessible and easily determined jointly by the characteristics of the cognitive mechanism that produces it and by the characteristics of the stimuli and events that evoke it, (Kahneman, p.699.) Because of this, it is evident that your ideas of cognition are also true because it suggests that’s those complex problems are solved with complex mental algorithms, the same thing the philosophers have suggested for one to understand the complexity of the human mind then, it requires a lot of time and dedication because it is not an easy thing.

Gigerenzer: Yes, it does. However, basing my research on the homo heuristics, helped in presenting a visionary imagination of human nature based on an adaptive toolbox of heuristics rather than the original works where we were basing the intuition on traits, attitudes, preferences, and similar internal explanations. To explain further, with the help of my colleague, we decided to conduct a review on how the development of the science of heuristics progressed, by basing our main focus on the discovery of less-is-more effects that had a different perception on the explanation on the accuracy-effort trade-off, (Gigerenzer, p.110.)   Before you ask me the question why Heuristics? I will say to you heuristics lies in their ecological rationality which the environmental structure that a given heuristics is adapted.

Kahneman: According to what you were conducting are there any ways in the human mind can be designed by any planner? Because it seems most of your research was based on the human intellectual and their aggressiveness.

Gigerenzer:  It is possible that a planner can design the human mind based on certain perspectives. The first design they will undertake is, giving the mind a perfect memory, by providing predictable memories, the next design accounts for the fact that the world is not absolutely predictable and fully observable, which involves having a mind that can make relevant inferences from limited samples, (Gigerenzer,p.136.) The next design requires the mind to make inferences quickly from a few observations, thus exploiting the notion that bias can be adaptive and can help reduce the estimation error, thus this one relies on a variety of inferences. Talking of inferences, can you elaborate on the model of judgment by heuristic, because it is just hard for me to understand it?

Kahneman: The model was a research Tversky and I conducted with the main aim being studying various types of judgment about uncertain events that included numerical predictions and assessment of probabilities hypothesis. We determine that people rely on a limited number of heuristic principles which reduce the complex tasks of assessing probabilities and predicting values to simpler judgemental operations, (Kahneman, p.703.) We concluded by noticing that even though heuristics are useful, sometimes they can lead to a variety of errors.

Gigerenzer:  I appreciate the information that you have shared with me. Some of the readings I undertook were hard to internalize and needed such elaboration and explanation. Have a wonderful day ahead.

Kahneman: Thank you too for the information, and I hope to meet you shortly. Have a good day, and stay safe.

  1. Brief Analysis to Kehneman and Gigerenzer.

Based on the dialogue, there are instances where both of them could agree on the same point basing their arguments on the human mind. For example, both of them agree to the fact that the human mind must be triggered to perform a certain task. However, the triggering aspect must be conscious not to inflict harm on the individuals. Something that both seem to agree on is the aspect of rationality. According to the idea Kahneman present on rationality, he describes it as some content-free probability law, however, in our case, it is simply ecological rationality, where refers to the two concepts of heuristic and environment. Ecological rationality takes the environment as its major account something essential in rationality. Thus Kahneman describes it as a deviation from a norm that is logical, hence it deviate from rationality. He believes that heuristics cannot produce a better prediction than the rational model would have, thus making the aspect of less-is-more effective, (Kahneman, 2003.) Gigerenzer on the other hand discussed “Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences,” thus based on that because of the change in our environment, we tend to spend much time in it compared to when our forefathers were years ago, (Gigerenzer & Brighton, 2009.) Even though the rational choice may seem not to be the major way correctness, the way it works fits the modern ways of society.  

Also, Gigerenzer kept arguing that the biases Kahneman and Tversky identified seemed not correct to be termed as errors because of the three main reasons he offered. The first one was based on frequentists, for single-case judgments, there are no norms that are appropriate because of meaningless probabilities on a single case. The next one was despite the single-case probabilities to be clear, statistical norms should not govern them because they are norms that are “content-blind” and can conversationally conflict with norms. Lastly, the existence of statistically conflicting norms. However, if we compare Gigerenzer’s main view, seems less extreme than what Kahneman and Tversky referred to him, the position of “normative agnosticism.” According to Gigerenzer, he intends to bring out the idea that the existence of the norms has been ignored by heuristics and biases literate, which should not be the case just because of the existence of norms to be appropriate for a single case judgment. In my perspective though, I will say that single case probabilities are good and bring out the sensory aspect, probabilistic norms are the one that governs them, and lastly, despite Gigerenzer view of conflicting statistical norms existence, it may have a less impact and a disappointing one than what he anticipates. In conclusion, it will be hard to deny or accept who was wrong and right, because, based on their ways of reasoning on their models, it is clear that human reasoning is consistent with each other, the difference is only that they fail to use the rational. However, their model of human reasoning is consistent with each other. They just don’t use the word “rational” in the same way.


Gigerenzer, G., & Brighton, H. (2009). Homo Heuristicus: Why biased minds make better inferences. Topics in Cognitive Science1(1), 107-143. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1756-8765.2008.01006.x

Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist58(9), 697-720. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.58.9.697

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