Cognition as Intuitive Statistics

Gigerenzer, G., & Murray, D. J.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Hillsdale, NJ

The present book focuses on the intersection between two recent lines of thought. Both have been called "revolutions." The term "cognitive revolution" signifies the transition from understanding humans in terms of overt behavior to understanding them in terms of mental structures and processes. The term "probabilistic revolution" describes the transition from a deterministic understanding of science, in which uncertainty and variability were not permitted, to an understanding of science where probabilistic ideas became indispensable in theorizing. From the intersection of the inference revolution and the rising cognitive revolution a new understanding of the mind emerged: The mind as an "intuitive statistician." It is this second revolution on which the book focuses: It treats the new view of cognitive processes as statistical inference and hypotheses testing. But claim that the success of the second revolution relies heavily on that of the first and that the new methods of inferences have been transplanted to serve as explanations for how many cognitive processes work., and this has brought to cognitive psychology both a unifying perspective and, also certain blind spots inherent in these institutionalized statistical tools.