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Much of our mental activities, however, are unconscious and driven by gut feelings and intuitions without involvement of formal logic. Our mind often relies on the unconscious and uses rules of thumb in order to adapt and economize.

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One reason it needs to do so is because there is only so much information we can digest at one time. One advantage is that these simple rules are less prone to estimation and calculation error and are intuitively transparent as opposed to complex models. So, an intuitive shortcut, or heuristic, often gets us where we want without a smaller chance of big errors, and with less effort.

One example for this that an experienced chess player will usually generate the best solution first and he will not do better with more time to reflect and reconsider - rather in contrary. Inexperienced players on the other hand will most of the time benefit from long deliberation.


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So, stop thinking when you are skilled. Thinking too much about processes we master expertly will usually slow down or disrupt performance as everyone who has tried to think about going down the stairs can confirm.

These things run better outside our conscious awareness, so more is not always better. Heuristics try to react on the most important information, ignore the rest and lead to fast action. Heuristics are a result of evolved capacities of our brain: The selection of the applicable rules is unconscious. Gigerenzer thus views our mind as an adaptive toolbox with rules of thumb that can be transferred culturally or genetically and also developed by ourselves, or adapted from existing rules. One function of intuition is also to help us master one of our main challenges: So a heuristic is neither good nor bad, this depends upon the environmental structures.

Gut feelings may seem simplistic, but their underlying intelligence is selecting the right rule of thumb for the right situation depending on circumstances, environment, etc. In fact, however, in unpredictable situations the opposite is true. As things are, our world has limited predictability. Keeping that in mind one may consider that we should spend less resources and money on making complex predictions and on consultants who make them for us.

The art of intuition is to ignore everything except the best clue that has a good chance on hitting that useful information.

Psychological research suggests that people often but not always! The final chapter of part one discusses intuition and logic.

How to Make Decisions

Gigerenzer argues that calling the intuitive solution of most people a fallacy is not correct because gut feelings or humans in general are not governed by the rules of mathematical logic. A man falls for the right woman even though she s wrong on paper.

Gerd Gigerenzer’s Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making | Jason Collins blog

All these people succeeded by trusting their instincts Short Cuts to Better Decision Making. Think less and know more. All these people succeeded by trusting their instincts but how does it work? In Gut Feelings psychologist and behavioural expert Gerd Gigerenzer reveals the secrets of fast and effective decision-making.


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