Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


People are not that dumb

Blackwell Synergy: Psychological Science, Vol 17, Issue 9, pp. 767-773: Optimal Predictions in Everyday Cognition (Abstract): "Human perception and memory are often explained as optimal statistical inferences that are informed by accurate prior probabilities. In contrast, cognitive judgments are usually viewed as following error-prone heuristics that are insensitive to priors. We examined the optimality of human cognition in a more realistic context than typical laboratory studies, asking people to make predictions about the duration or extent of everyday phenomena such as human life spans and the box-office take of movies. Our results suggest that everyday cognitive judgments follow the same optimal statistical principles as perception and memory, and reveal a close correspondence between people's implicit probabilistic models and the statistics of the world."