Our Books

Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know
edited by Ralph Hertwig and Christoph Engel

In this book, edited by Ralph Hertwig and Christoph Engel, an interdisciplinary group of scholars explores the scope of deliberate ignorance: the conscious choice not to seek or use information. When is deliberate ignorance a virtue, when is it a vice, and what can be learned from formally modeling the underlying motives? On which normative grounds can it be judged? Which institutional interventions can promote or prevent it? Chapters draw on multiple examples of deliberate ignorance, including the right not to know in genetic testing, collective amnesia in transformational societies, blind orchestral auditions, and “don't ask don't tell” policies.

The book is freely available over the Ernst Strüngmann Forum website.
Taming uncertainty
Ralph Hertwig, Timothy Pleskac, Thorsten Pachur, and the Center for Adaptive Rationality

How do people navigate uncertainty, making decisions under conditions of imperfect knowledge, high complexity, and time pressure? Ralph Hertwig and colleagues argue that the human mind has developed three types of tools to grapple with uncertainty: simple heuristics, tools for information search, and tools for harnessing the wisdom of others. Chapters deal with instances of decision making such as food choice architecture, intertemporal choice, financial uncertainty, pedestrian navigation, and adolescent behavior.

The book features online interactive elements.
Fouloscopie: Ce que la foule dit de nous
(Book in French)
Mehdi Moussaïd

Human crowds can be dangerous and destructive, but they can also be wise and smart. Scientists from various disciplines have been trying to decipher the mysteries of human collective behavior: What are the mechanisms of crowd stampedes? Does the behavior of pedestrians differ between countries? Can we compare humans to fish or sheep? What can we learn with the data gathered by Facebook and other social media networks? Based on the latest scientific findings in biology, physics, and psychology, Mehdi Moussaïd tells us about the mechanisms and powers of crowds.
Simple heuristics in a social world
Ralph Hertwig, Ulrich Hoffrage, and the ABC Research Group

The social world is a terrain where humans and other animals compete with conspecifics for myriad resources. Yet the social world also encompasses domains where humans and other animals learn from one another to boost their chances of success. The authors argue that the complexity of the social world renders optimization difficult, if not impossible. With optimization beyond reach, simple strategies or heuristics become indispensable mental tools. In this book, evidence is reviewed showing that simple heuristics can be more accurate than complex methods when used in the appropriate environments, and that simple heuristics are good descriptive models of how people make decisions.
Heuristics: The foundations of adaptive behavior
Edited by Gerd Gigerenzer, Ralph Hertwig, and Thorsten Pachur

How do people make decisions when time is limited, information unreliable, and the future uncertain? The authors present the research program on simple heuristics—efficient cognitive processes that ignore information and exploit the structure of the environment. In contrast to the view that less complex processing necessarily reduces accuracy, the analysis of simple heuristics demonstrates that less information and computation can sometimes improve accuracy. This book contains chapters that have been previously published in journals. These chapters present theory, real-world applications, and experimental studies that provide evidence for people's adaptive use of simple heuristics.
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