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Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521796798
ISBN-10: 0521796792
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Editorial Reviews


Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment; offers a massive, state-of-the-art treatment of the literature, supplementing a similar book published two decades ago...This is an impressive book, full of implications for law and policy." Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School

"...the book should serve well as a reference work for researchers in cognitive science and as a textbook for advanced courses in that difficult topic. Philosophers interested in cognitive science will also wish to consult it." Metapsychology Online Review

"Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment is a scholarly treat, one that is sure to shape the perspectives of another generation of researchers, teachers, and graduate students. The book will serve as a welcome refresher course for some readers and a strong introduction to an important research perspective for others." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Book Description

Judgment pervades human experience. Do I have a strong enough case to go to trial? Will the Fed change interest rates? Can I trust this person? This book examines how, and how well, people answer such questions. How do people cope with the complexities of , say, the world economy, the uncertain behavior of friends and adversaries, or their own changing tastes and personalities? When are people's judgments prone to bias, and what is responsible for their biases? This book compiles psychologists' best attempts to answer these important questions.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 882 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (July 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521796792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521796798
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1982, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky edited a volume, "Judgment under Uncertainty." This served as a culmination of their and others' research, bringing together in one volume a large number of reports on how humans make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. In short, they contended that under such conditions, people tend to use heuristics or decision-making shortcuts. This can lead to suboptimal decision-making.

Since, much research has built upon the earlier works. Indeed, there are now two streams in the research on heuristics--one fairly optimistic, exemplified by works of scholars such as Gerd Gigerenzer, and the other more pessimistic, exemplified by this particular volume, edited by Gilovich, Griffin, and Kahneman.

The introduction sets the stage for the myriad essays making up this book. The editors note in the Preface that (page xv): "The core idea of the heuristics and biases program is that judgment under uncertainty is often based on a limited small number of simplifying heuristics rather than more formal and extensive algorithmic processing. These heuristics typically yield accurate judgments but can lead to systematic error." The Introduction itself provides an historical overview of this line of work and notes some of the critiques of this body of research.

The individual essays themselves note some of the basic heuristics (or decision-making shortcuts). To illustrate: representativeness. Here, one takes a small number of cases and generalizes from these. E.g., oh, I knew a couple college basketball players and they were pretty dumb. Hence, one then generalizes and concludes that all basketball players are not so smart. In short, one generalizes from a poor sample.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of articles has its origin in the work of one of the editors (Daniel Kahneman) and Amos Tversky (now deceased) in the 1970's. The first article in the book gives an introduction to this work and a brief historical survey. This work, along with current developments, is extremely important, for it sheds light on the differences (if any) between "intuitive judgment" and judgment that is based on more quantitative, mathematical, or algorithmic reasoning. If human judgment in uncertain environments is based on a limited number of simplifying heuristics, and not on extensive algorithmic processing, this would be very important for someone who is attempting to implement or simulate human reasoning in a machine. Economics, finance, and political decision-making are other areas that need a more accurate view of human judgment. Indeed, the "rational agent" assumption in classical economics, wherein the person makes choices by assessing the probability of each possible outcome and then assigning a utility to each, is considered to be fundamental, even axiomatic. It is therefore of great interest to examine challenges to this assumption.

In order to test the rational agent assumption, experiments must be conducted to test whether indeed the human assessment of likelihood and risk does indeed conform to the laws of probability. The data obtained in these experiments must then be judged as to whether it can be used to decide between the rational agent model and models of human judgment that are based on "intuition" (however vaguely or mystically this latter term is defined).

The authors of the first article in this book discuss some of the work on these questions, in particular the research that involved comparing expert clinical prediction with actuarial methods.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has a wide scope about the two systems of assessment of situations, cognitive biases, probabilities and similar judgmental analysis by human beings. It stresses on the unreliability of the "System 1" of the intuitive and fast judgement, versus the "System 2" of the purposeful analysis, with use of the appropriate analytical tools.

The book offers several papers of research in these areas, rather than a narrative of the many cognitive biases that we as human beings do in our daily life. Although the reading of the summary and some of the papers is enlightening, I found the experiment design, results explanation and presentation of conclusion blurred by the "academic" nature and scholarly writing of the book. Most of the papers were intended on providing proof of the writers proficiency on social psychology, than making a well structured readable account of their conclusions.

I am a Chemical Engineer and I am familiar and proficient in basic probability and assessment problems. Some of the tests the authors use, have ingrained in them a faulty design from the statistical point of view (options that include other options) , so that I was puzzled by some of the conclusions.

I don't deny the authors know their subject, but the result is fairly dull read for lay people, like me, who are interested in knowing the pitfalls of the cognitive biases in our daily life decisions, rather than reading one or two academic references in each sentence.
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Format: Paperback
This book is primarily a collection of key papers on heuristics and biases published during the two decades between 1982 and 2002, generally in the tradition of the work initiated by Tversky and Kahneman. The book essentially picks up where Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases left off. An introductory chapter also provides an historical overview of the topic and outlines the scope of the book.

The paper-based format of the book means that the content is relatively detailed and technical, with specifics of many experimental studies, and thus the book is oriented towards an academic audience rather than the general reader (for whom Thinking, Fast and Slow is a better choice). Likewise, the book is NOT a systematic textbook on heuristics and biases, so look elsewhere if that's your interest - almost no one will read this book cover to cover, nor is that generally necessary.

I give the book 5 stars for achieving its goals for its intended audience, and I hope this review is helpful in clarifying who that audience is.
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