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Gerd Gigerenzer recently summarized more than a decade of research concerning the role of heuristics in human decision making.Gigerenzer argues that heuristics aren’t a cognitive shortcoming at all.
Similarly, research on online dating performed by Alison Lenton and Barbara Fasolo indicated that participants presented with more potential partners did not experience any greater emotional satisfaction than participants presented with fewer options.
(They were, if anything, more confused about their choices.) These findings do not only pertain to the world of dating.
For example, the authors found that in speed-dating events where the amount of potential partners to choose from is relatively large, people predominantly pay attention to information that is easily accessible, such as age, height, body mass index, etc., rather than information that is harder to observe, such as occupation and education.
Because of their simplicity, heuristics have long been viewed as inferior to rational thought.
In particular, people tend to assume that it is always a good thing to think long and hard about everything, consciously deliberating different potential outcomes and rationally weighing different pros and cons.
However, an emerging field of research is questioning this traditional view.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.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.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating