Is Common Sense Commonly Wrong?
In his review of Gerd Gigerenzer’s new book Simply Rational: Decision Making in the Real World, Donald MacGregor argues that:
Cognitive heuristics have, in some senses, been given a bad rap. As part of refuting utility theory by demonstrating that the intuitive tools people apply to some types of problems lead them to suboptimal behavior in an economic sense, we’ve come to see heuristics as a form of biased judgment with negative connotations. (para. 4)
According to the reviewer, Gigerenzer’s view is more in keeping with the “adaptive utility of relatively simple rules that are based on the kinds of information…readily available in the human’s natural cognitive environment” (para. 4).
Where do you stand on the value of cognitive heuristics such as common sense? Do we overvalue them, or has their value been overlooked?
By Donald MacGregor
PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(35)