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Max Planck, Columbia, Representative Design, and Two Fast & Frugal Heuristics

Ralph Hertwig
New York, NY

In 2000, my Brunswik-related activities included co-organizing (with Ulrich Hoffrage and Gerd Gigerenzer) the 2000 Brunswik Society meeting, which was held in Europe for the first time in the Society's history. (The meeting took place at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.) Although we three organizers are admittedly not impartial judges, we thought the meeting was a success thanks to many interesting contributions. In particular, we were happy to see attendees from many places throughout Europe who would normally not come to the meeting.

Second, Mandeep Dhami, Ulrich Hoffrage and myself are in the process of finishing a paper that reviews the use of representative design in Social Judgment Theory research. Mandeep, who is conducting the bulk of the work, presented some of the major results of this project at the 2000 Society meeting. Judging from some of the responses to her presentation, we expect the review to yield some challenging results, thus (we hope) encouraging a discussion of the future of representative design in the field.

Finally, in collaboration with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute, I have continued to work on some of the fast and frugal heuristics explored in the recent book authored by Gerd Gigerenzer, Peter Todd and the ABC research group (Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart, 1999, Oxford University Press). In one project, we are further exploring a cue-based inference mechanism that we proposed as a model of a classic memory bias, namely, the hindsight bias (U. Hoffrage, R. Hertwig, & G. Gigerenzer, 2000, Hindsight bias: A by-product of knowledge updating? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 566-581). Having already implemented this mechanism in a computer simulation, we are now attempting to find out to what extent it can predict previous findings in hindsight bias research and make novel, untested predictions.

We have also continued to work on an estimation heuristic called QuickEst, which exploits an ubiquitous environmental structure--J-shaped distributions--that characterizes a variety of naturally occurring phenomena, including many arising from accretionary growth. We are currently testing the performance of this heuristic in other environmental structures and are exploring the extent to which it can describe how people arrive at quantitative estimates.

P.S. This year I received a research grant from the German Science Foundation that allows me to spend two years abroad. In October, I moved to Columbia University where I am working in Elke Weber's lab. My new address is as follows: Ralph Hertwig, Columbia University, Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, Tel: (212) 854-4815

Contact Ralph Hertwig

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