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Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality (by Max Planck Institute)

  • 김세영 2010-06-22 01:24:01 조회 8,454 추천 1158
간략한 여름학교 취지를 소개하는 글입니다.

The Summer School Bounded Rationality Foundations of an Interdisciplinary Decision Theory will bring together young researchers across the humanities, life, and social sciences to seek a common understanding of how Homo sapiens forms decisions. Unlike our ancestor, Homo erectus, we are not named after our bipedal stance, nor after our abilities to laugh, weep, and joke. Our family name refers to our wisdom and rationality. Yet, what is the nature of that wisdom? (Gigerenzer, 2008)

Throughout the course of evolution and personal experiences, biological beings acquire strategies to extract information from their environment in a fast and accurate way. This concept of rationality is opposed to the classical view of rationality, which provides the grounds� for theories of decision making across many disciplines. An essential idea of the study of bounded rationality (Simon, 1956) is that decision mechanisms are necessarily adapted to the environment. Bounded rationality aims to describe the psychological processes underlying decision-making behavior. Heuristics serve as good explanations of behavior because they are fast and robust mechanisms adapted to specific environments (Gigerenzer, Todd, & the ABC Research Group, 1999).

Our biological framework should not be ignored when theorizing about decision making. When psychologists maintain that people are unreasonably overconfident, or fall prey to a number of biases, each of these claims is based on an assumption about the nature of sapiens. In a similar vein, most models in economics, biology, and in the neurosciences assume a perfectly rational decision maker equipped with unlimited knowledge, time, and information-processing power.

The idea of bounded rationality has been traditionally the domain of economists and psychologists. In recent years, biologist, philosophers and neuroscientists have also shown increasing interest in a decision theory based on the psychological plausiblity, which provides alternatives to reigning paradigms (e.g., expected utility theory, Bayesian decision theory). Instead of using complex optimizing models for small worlds (Savage, 1954) where all alternatives, consequences, and probability distributions are known, these researchers have turned to investigating fast and frugal decision rules that allow humans and other animals to decide adaptively in complex environments (see, e.g., McNamara & Houston, 2009 for biology; Bishop & Trout, 2005 for philosophy; Volz et al., 2006 for neuroscience). Concepts such as limited search, aspiration levels, and ecological rationality started to move across disciplinary boundaries.

The participants of the Summer Institute will be introduced to the sometimes surprisingly different research practices of many neighboring fields: psychology, economics, biology, philosophy and neuroscience. Workshops, talks, poster presentations and informal events will enable participants to share knowledge across disciplines, while challenging the reigning assumptions in the individual disciplines.


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