From recognition to decisions: Extending and testing recognition-based models for multialternative inference

Julian N. Marewski, Wolfgang Gaissmaier, Lael Schooler, Daniel G. Goldstein, Gerd Gigerenzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


The recognition heuristic is a noncompensatory strategy for inferring which of two alternatives, one recognized and the other not, scores higher on a criterion. According to it, such inferences are based solely on recognition. We generalize this heuristic to tasks with multiple alternatives, proposing a model of how people identify the consideration sets from which they make their final decisions. In doing so, we address concerns about the heuristic's adequacy as a model of behavior: Past experiments have led several authors to conclude that there is no evidence for a noncompensatory use of recognition but clear evidence that recognition is integrated with other information. Surprisingly, however, in no study was this competing hypothesis-the compensatory integration of recognition-formally specified as a computational model. In four studies, we specify five competing models, conducting eight model comparisons. In these model comparisons, the recognition heuristic emerges as the best predictor of people's inferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-309
Number of pages23
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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