Many decisions faced by people cannot be made in an

optimal way because optimal solutions may take too much computation to find or may not even exist. Instead, real decision makers must often take shortcuts and use heuristics that yield reasonable solutions in a reasonable amount of time, even if they do not guarantee always reaching a good decision. These heuristics are thus an essential aspect of human intelligence, leading to adaptive behavior despite the challenging conditions of limited time, knowledge, and computational capacity under which people have to solve problems. Heuristics are most commonly studied in psychology, particularly within the domains of judgment and decision making, and in computer-based applications in artificial intelligence and operations research. This article focuses on research in psychology that has proposed heuristic models of how people search for information and make decisions and choices.

Encyclopedia of the Human Brain Volume 2

Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA).

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