Homo heuristicus Outnumbered: Comment on Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009)


should be sent to Benjamin E. Hilbig, Psychology III, University of Mannheim, Schloss Ehrenhof Ost, 68131 Mannheim, Germany. E-mail: hilbig@psychologie.uni-mannheim.de


Gigerenzer and Brighton (2009) have argued for a “Homo heuristicus” view of judgment and decision making, claiming that there is evidence for a majority of individuals using fast and frugal heuristics. In this vein, they criticize previous studies that tested the descriptive adequacy of some of these heuristics. In addition, they provide a reanalysis of experimental data on the recognition heuristic that allegedly supports Gigerenzer and Brighton’s view of pervasive reliance on heuristics. However, their arguments and reanalyses are both conceptually and methodologically problematic. We provide counterarguments and a reanalysis of the data considered by Gigerenzer and Brighton. Results clearly replicate previous findings, which are at odds with the claim that simple heuristics provide a general description of inferences for a majority of decision makers.