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ERIC Number: EJ931907
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
The Robust Beauty of Ordinary Information
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.; Schooler, Lael J.; Hertwig, Ralph
Psychological Review, v117 n4 p1259-1266 Oct 2010
Heuristics embodying limited information search and noncompensatory processing of information can yield robust performance relative to computationally more complex models. One criticism raised against heuristics is the argument that complexity is hidden in the calculation of the cue order used to make predictions. We discuss ways to order cues that do not entail individual learning. Then we propose and test the thesis that when orders are learned individually, people's necessarily limited knowledge will curtail computational complexity while also achieving robustness. Using computer simulations, we compare the performance of the take-the-best heuristic--with dichotomized or undichotomized cues--to benchmarks such as the naive Bayes algorithm across 19 environments. Even with minute sizes of training sets, take-the-best using undichotomized cues excels. For 10 environments, we probe people's intuitions about the direction of the correlation between cues and criterion. On the basis of these intuitions, in most of the environments take-the-best achieves the level of performance that would be expected from learning cue orders from 50% of the objects in the environments. Thus, ordinary information about cues--either gleaned from small training sets or intuited--can support robust performance without requiring Herculean computations. (Contains 4 footnotes, 3 tables, and 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany