From Disintegrated Architectures of Cognition to an Integrated Heuristic Toolbox

Peter M. Todd, Lael J. Schooler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


This chapter demonstrates how grand unified theories of cognition can be combined with the idea that the mind is a collection of disparate simple mechanisms. It first describes the "adaptive toolbox" model of the mind put forth by Gigerenzer and colleagues: a collection of simple heuristic mechanisms that can be used to good effect on particular tasks and in particular environments. This model is aimed at describing how humans (and other animals) can make good decisions despite the limitations that we face in terms of information, time, and cognitive processing ability-namely, by employing ecological rationality, that is, using heuristics that are fit to the structure of information in different task environments, and letting the environment itself exert significant control over what components of cognition are employed. Yet such a disintegrated and externally driven view of cognition can still ultimately come together within an integrated model of a cognitive system, as this chapter shows via an implementation within the ACT-R (adaptive control of thought-rational) cognitive architecture of two simple decision heuristics that exploit patterns of recognition and familiarity information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntegrated Models of Cognitive Systems
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199847457
ISBN (Print)9780195189193
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive toolbox model
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive architecture
  • Cognitive processing
  • Cognitive system
  • Ecological rationality
  • Heuristics
  • Integrated model
  • Mind
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'From Disintegrated Architectures of Cognition to an Integrated Heuristic Toolbox'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this