Adaptive Thinking

Where do new ideas come from? What is social intelligence? How can innumeracy be turned into insight? Why do social scientists perform mindless statistical rituals? This vital new book addresses these questions. Gerd Gigerenzer reformulates rationality as adaptive thinking: the way minds cope with their environments, both ecological and social. Together, these collected papers develop the idea that human thinking - from scientific creativity to simply understanding what a positive HIV test means - takes place both inside and outside the mind.

Gerd Gigerenzer proposes and illustrates a bold new research program that investigates the psychology of rationality. Gigerenzer's orginal work on ecological, bounded, and social rationality provides an alternative framework to the study of human rationality. His path-breaking collection takes research on thinking, social intelligence, creativity, and decision making out of an ethereal world where the laws of logic and probability reign, and places it in the real world of human endeavors guided by simple strategies and social motives.

Adaptive Thinking is accessibly written for general readers with a background in psychology, cognitive science, economics, sociology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, and animal behavior. It also teaches practitioners including physicians, AIDS counselors, and experts in criminal law how to understand and communicate uncertainties and risks.

Chinese translation: Shanghai Educational Publishing House, 2006

Other Editions

Chinese translation: Shanghai Educational Publishing House (2006)


Gigerenzer, G. (2000). Adaptive thinking: Rationality in the real world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

ISBN-10: 0-19515-372-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-19515-372-9

Adaptive Thinking Cover