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Ecological rationality: a framework for understanding and aiding the aging decision maker


Mata, Rui; Pachur, Thorsten; von Helversen, Bettina; Hertwig, Ralph; Rieskamp, Jörg; Schooler, Lael (2012). Ecological rationality: a framework for understanding and aiding the aging decision maker. Frontiers in Neuroscience:6:19.

Abstract

The notion of ecological rationality sees human rationality as the result of the adaptive fit between the human mind and the environment. Ecological rationality focuses the study of decision making on two key questions: First, what are the environmental regularities to which people's decision strategies are matched, and how frequently do these regularities occur in natural environments? Second, how well can people adapt their use of specific strategies to particular environmental regularities? Research on aging suggests a number of changes in cognitive function, for instance, deficits in learning and memory that may impact decision-making skills. However, it has been shown that simple strategies can work well in many natural environments, which suggests that age-related deficits in strategy use may not necessarily translate into reduced decision quality. Consequently, we argue that predictions about the impact of aging on decision performance depend not only on how aging affects decision-relevant capacities but also on the decision environment in which decisions are made. In sum, we propose that the concept of the ecological rationality is crucial to understanding and aiding the aging decision maker.

Abstract

The notion of ecological rationality sees human rationality as the result of the adaptive fit between the human mind and the environment. Ecological rationality focuses the study of decision making on two key questions: First, what are the environmental regularities to which people's decision strategies are matched, and how frequently do these regularities occur in natural environments? Second, how well can people adapt their use of specific strategies to particular environmental regularities? Research on aging suggests a number of changes in cognitive function, for instance, deficits in learning and memory that may impact decision-making skills. However, it has been shown that simple strategies can work well in many natural environments, which suggests that age-related deficits in strategy use may not necessarily translate into reduced decision quality. Consequently, we argue that predictions about the impact of aging on decision performance depend not only on how aging affects decision-relevant capacities but also on the decision environment in which decisions are made. In sum, we propose that the concept of the ecological rationality is crucial to understanding and aiding the aging decision maker.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:34
Last Modified:13 Aug 2017 10:54
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-453X
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2012.00019
PubMed ID:22347843

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