Heuristic (psychology)

Simple strategies or mental processes involved in making quick decisions / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Heuristics is the process by which humans use mental short cuts to arrive at decisions. Heuristics are simple strategies that humans, animals,[1][2][3] organizations,[4] and even machines[5] use to quickly form judgments, make decisions, and find solutions to complex problems. Often this involves focusing on the most relevant aspects of a problem or situation to formulate a solution.[6][7][8][9] While heuristic processes are used to find the answers and solutions that are most likely to work or be correct, they are not always right or the most accurate.[10] Judgments and decisions based on heuristics are simply good enough to satisfy a pressing need in situations of uncertainty, where information is incomplete.[11] In that sense they can differ from answers given by logic and probability.

The economist and cognitive psychologist Herbert A. Simon introduced the concept of heuristics in the 1950s, suggesting there were limitations to rational decision making. In the 1970s, psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman added to the field with their research on cognitive bias. It was their work that introduced specific heuristic models, a field which has only expanded since. While some argue that pure laziness is behind the heuristics process, others argue that it can be more accurate than decisions based on every known factor and consequence, the less-is-more effect.