Simple mechanisms for gathering social information

R. Garcia-Retamero, M. Takezawa, M. Galesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Social contexts are notoriously complex, yet decisions are nevertheless made by using simple strategies. We argue that the concept of fast and frugal heuristics provides a promising framework for understanding how we gather social information to make decisions in social environments. That is, we assume that under limitations of time, energy, and computational resources people use cognitively based shortcuts that rely on information from social environments to solve different types of real problems. We review three successful applications of heuristics to the social arena. We first introduce some commonly faced social inference problems (e.g., selecting a mate or deciding whether to cooperate with someone) and then discuss how individuals can use simple strategies to solve such problems. For each problem, we consider how social environments are structured, and how we take advantage of this structure when using heuristics to make inferences and decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-63
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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