Review

Cognitive Processing

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 103-121

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Good judgments do not require complex cognition

  • Julian N. MarewskiAffiliated withCenter for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development Email author 
  • , Wolfgang GaissmaierAffiliated withHarding Center for Risk Literacy, Max Planck Institute for Human Development Email author 
  • , Gerd GigerenzerAffiliated withCenter for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

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.

Keywords

Heuristics Ecological rationality Cognitive capacities