Notice that an unbiased algorithm may suffer from high variance, because the mean function may be precisely the underlying function but the individual functions may suffer from excess variance and hence high error. An algorithm’s susceptibility to bias and variance will always depend on the underlying function and how many observations of this function are available. Our cognitive systems are confronted with the bias-variance dilemma whenever they attempt to make inferences about the world.
Instead, the second-best information may sufficiently satisfy (“satisfice”) their needs, leading to cessation of further efforts or actions, including verification. In other words, as far as Internet users obtain satisficing information that exceeds their aspiration level of information, they may not have an incentive to verify the information or to seek further information. By acknowledging these phenomena, this study attempted to examine whether the theory of bounded rationality (Gigerenzer and Selten, 2002; Simon, 1955; Simon, 1997a) can explain verification (especially, non-verification) behavior concerning Wikipedia. How do humans make inferences about their world with limited time and knowledge? Gigerenzer’s answer is that in an uncertain world, probability theory is not sufficient; people also use smart heuristics, that is, rules of thumb.
I love Gigerenzer’s vision of educating people in health, financial, and digital risk literacy. I thought this was a decent book.
An intermediate amount of knowledge about a set of objects can result in the highest proportion of correct decisions, an example of the “less-is-more effect” . In other words, fast and frugal heuristics explain human behavior based on the human rationality of making a decision. In a similar vein, Gigerenzer (2002) provides an explanation of why fast and frugal heuristics work. Humans use heuristics that are matched to particular environments and make adaptive decisions, taking into account a combination of accuracy, speed and frugality. In other words, humans are ecologically rational.
- In addition, humans use social rationality, which is a special case of ecological rationality.
- Third, this study has practical usefulness by suggesting ways of promoting library sources and introducing a quality of sources to students or Wikipedia users.
- It was during the 1950s that the Nobel-prize winning psychologist Herbert Simon suggested that while people strive to make rational choices, human judgment is subject to cognitive limitations.
- The author provides some useful tools for dealing with risk and uncertainty, arguing that it is perfectly possible to remove our seemingly hardwired cognitive biases.
Formal models of heuristics
In addition, some researchers have observed that information seekers perceive sites as more credible than those who use sites for entertainment (Stavrositu and Sundar, 2008). By the same token, researchers contend that users’ motivations in evaluating the credibility of information depend on the type of information (Metzger, 2007; Rieh and Hilligoss, 2008). Therefore, genres may affect credibility judgments, and different genres may produce different effects of heuristics or peripheral cues on credibility judgments. On the other hand, Jensen (2008) examined whether hedging influences news consumers’ perceptions of the credibility of scientists and journalists.
Gigerenzer and Ulrich Hoffrage were the first to develop and test a representation called natural frequencies, which helps people make Bayesian inferences correctly without any outside help. Later it was shown that with this method, even 4th graders were able to make correct inferences. Once again, the problem is not simply in the human mind, but in the representation of the information. Gigerenzer has taught risk literacy to some 1,000 doctors in their CMU and some 50 US federal judges, and natural frequencies has now entered the vocabulary of evidence-based medicine.
The above studies suggest that similar phenomena may be observed regarding users’ credibility judgments of Wikipedia. That is, peripheral cues may affect the credibility judgments of college students concerning Wikipedia. Based on dual-process theories, Reinhard and Sporer (2010) conducted a series of experiments to test whether there were relationships between the use of source cues and the levels of task involvement in making credibility judgments. One of their experiments used the attractiveness of images as a source cue, which can be considered as a peripheral cue. They found that only peripheral cues influenced the credibility judgments of participants with low-task involvement, whereas both central and peripheral cues had an impact on the credibility judgments of participants with high-task involvement.
Other researchers in the field of behavioral economics have also tried to explain why human behavior often goes against pure economic rationality. The theory of bounded rationality holds that an individual’s rationality is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision. This theory was proposed by Herbert A. Simon as a more holistic way of understanding decision-making. Bounded rationality shares the view that decision-making is a fully rational process; however, it adds the condition that people act on the basis of limited information. Because decision-makers lack the ability and resources to arrive at the optimal solution, they instead apply their rationality to a set of choices that have already been narrowed down by the absence of complete information and resources.
People employ the ignorance-based decision mechanism because while they use as little information as possible, recognition heuristics can produce accurate decisions more often than can random choices. In fact, adding more knowledge to use can even decrease decision accuracy.