, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 103-121,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Sep 2009

Good judgments do not require complex cognition

Abstract

What cognitive capabilities allow Homo sapiens to successfully bet on the stock market, to catch balls in baseball games, to accurately predict the outcomes of political elections, or to correctly decide whether a patient needs to be allocated to the coronary care unit? It is a widespread belief in psychology and beyond that complex judgment tasks require complex solutions. Countering this common intuition, in this article, we argue that in an uncertain world actually the opposite is true: Humans do not need complex cognitive strategies to make good inferences, estimations, and other judgments; rather, it is the very simplicity and robustness of our cognitive repertoire that makes Homo sapiens a capable decision maker.

Julian N. Marewski and Wolfgang Gaissmaier contributed equally to this article; the order of authorship was determined by a coin flip.