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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gut Feelings: Intelligence of the Unconscious

Gerd Gigerenzer is the director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute. I have been reading his 2007 book: Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. At first I thought this was like Gladwell's Blink. But instead of looking for just-so anecdotes Gigerenzer is always trying to induce useful rules. Human behavior is more about adapting than blinking. Notably about heuristic rules rather than attempts at optimizing a problem. He further explores multi-step decision processes.

He examines such problems as catching a ball and what he calls the 'recognition heuristic' that seems to pull knowledge from collective partial ignorance. That alone is worth the read. Many of his unconscious-cognition examples are well known, and thus repetitive. Later in the book he includes some examples that don't fit. Brief mention of fMRI but none of neuromarketing. Useful read for the examples above and an intro to the work done at the Adaptive Behavior Institute. Gigerenzer is also involved with consumer responses to product innovation. I am exploring that. A Gigerenzer talk Video.

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