In conclusion, when pressured for time and faced with many competing options, “fast and frugal” decision making can (potentially) enhance the quality of our decisions.
Selecting your future spouse based on the recognition heuristic might be overdoing it a bit, but when overwhelmed with potential choices at a speed-dating event, supermarket aisle or restaurant menu, going with a simple heuristic is a reasonable option.
At the time, I had just moved to Boston and didn’t know that many people yet, so I figured I would give the speed-dating scene a go.
As it turns out, I like to talk – so much, in fact, that I have a tendency to talk people’s ears off.
In essence, heuristics are decision-making tools that save effort by ignoring some information; and thus, their essential function is to reduce and simplify the processing of cues and information from our environment. In particular, prior research by Lenton and Francesconi suggests that when the number of potential speed-dating partners goes up, people tend to increasingly rely on heuristics in their decision making strategies.This effect was particularly strong when people were faced with a large number of potential partners.In fact, when both conditions were present, participants were more likely to make no decision at all.Rather, the author postulates that over millions of years of human evolution, such “smart” and adaptive heuristics have successfully guided our decision making in various (uncertain) environments.In short, we use all kinds of heuristics on a daily basis and apparently we do so for a good reason.