Abstract: The recognition heuristic is a noncompensatory strategy for inferring which of two alternatives, one recognized and the other not, scores higher on a criterion. According to it, such inferences are based solely on recognition. We generalize this heuristic to tasks with multiple alternatives, proposing a model of how people identify the consideration sets from which they make their final decisions. In doing so, we address concerns about the heuristic’s adequacy as a model of behavior: Past experiments have led several authors to conclude that there is no evidence for a noncompensatory use of recognition but clear evidence that recognition is integrated with other information. Surprisingly, however, in no study was this competing hypothesis—the compensatory integration of recognition—formally specified as a computational model. In four studies, we specify five competing models, conducting eight model comparisons. In these model comparisons, the recognition heuristic emerges as the best predictor of people’s inferences.
Marewski, J. N., Gaissmaier, W., Schooler, L. J., Goldstein, D. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (2010). From recognition to decisions: Extending and testing recognition-based models for multialternative inference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 287–309.