Thursday 2014-11-27

Adaptive Thinking by Gerd Gigerenzer

Philosophy of Statistics

That was in the good old days when the offices had no telephones, e-mail, or other communication facilitators to interrupt one's thoughts.
The PDF saw 83 hours of use on an average week in 1965-1966, but 56 of these were spent on debugging and maintenance. In the annual reports are several remarks of the type, "It is difficult to program computers.... Getting a program to work may take months."
Earlier studies have documented that many experts—and most patients and jurors—do not understand how to answer these questions, possibly because they neglect base rates or are con- fused by probabilities. I show that the notion of ecological rationality leads to a simple method for helping experts and laypersons alike. One can restore the representation of uncertainty that humans have encountered throughout their evolution by translating probabilities back into natural frequencies—the outcome of natural sampling.
Social rationality is a specific form of ecological rationality, one in which the environment consists of other humans (or, more generally, conspecifics). The program of social rationality explains human judgment and decision making in terms of the structure of social environments. Chapter 9 illustrates how behaviors that look irrational from an individualistic point of view can turn out to be well adapted to a specific social environment.