Heuristics, History of

Ralph Hertwig, Thorsten Pachur

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The study of heuristics is an interdisciplinary and time-honored enterprise, with heuristics being examined across a wide range of fields, some focusing on professionals' decision-making. In psychology, two influential research traditions have investigated which cognitive heuristics people use across various tasks. One tradition, which originated in the 1970s, has focused on the circumstances under which heuristics cause deviations from classical norms of rationality. The other, starting in the 1990s, has emphasized that heuristics are neither good nor bad per se, but that their success depends on how they are matched to environmental structures. This view suggests that heuristics, rather than leading to irrationality, enable ecological rationality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Accuracy-effort trade-off
  • Bias-variance dilemma
  • Bounded rationality
  • Cognitive illusions
  • Cognitive limitations
  • Computational intractability
  • Ecological rationality
  • Heuristics
  • Heuristics-and-biases
  • Problem solving
  • Risk
  • Uncertainty


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