Friday, November 7, 2014

Does Intuition Beat Fast and Frugal Heuristics?

In his chapter titled “Does Intuition Beat Fast and Frugal Heuristics?” Glockner examined whether the automatic process of developing a decision is quicker and more accurate than other heuristic approaches.

Glockner discussed three methods by which a person can make a decision, two of which are method based, and the third is an automatic process.

            Weighted Additive Strategies (WADD): is the process of choosing the option with the highest weighted sum of criteria. This method requires an individual to process all available information to make a decision.

            Take the Best (TTB): is the process of choosing the best option with respect to one specific criterion deemed the most important. A person will only use information pertaining to the one criterion to make their decision.

            Consistency-Maximizing Strategy (CMS): Is an automatic process by which a person identifies consistencies between available information, whether it is provided or in their memory, to make a decision.

The CMS is a three step process by which a person can make a decision:
  1. The person must first activate all associated information within their memory
  2. A person then automatically reduces the number of inconsistencies between pieces of information
  3. A resulting decision is formed based on the connection between available information led to
Glockner hypothesized that choices made by those using CMS would mirror the choices made by WADD group. Additonally, Glockner hypothesized that those using CMS would have shorten decision making times and their times would increase with the number of inconsistencies.
To test this hypothesis, Glockner asked an experimental group to make a decision. Participants were provided a list of cities and were asked to determine which city possessed more inhabitants. Each participant was given 3 facts about each of the cities: (A) whether the city was a capital or not, (B) the city has or does not have a university, and (C) the city has or does not have a major league sports team. This process was repeated using 6 different questions. After the fact, the participants disclosed their decision making process and were divided into groups (WADD, TTB, and CMS). Glockner  identified that 63% used CMS, 24% used TTB, and 2% used WADD. Those using CMS had the lowest decision making times; however, there was no significant difference.

Results of this study found that CMS was the most frequently used decision process model. Only a small portion opted for a complex process (WADD) in making their decisions. Glockner found in this study that the results between decisions made using CMS (i.e. intuition) and a complex processing model (WADD) did not differ.

Glockner’s findings adequately show that CMS is the most used decision processing model; however, his experimental model cannot unequivocally determine it is the better of the two. The number of participants using a complex decision making model (WADD) waned in comparison to those using CMS; therefore, this study is not statistically sound. Further research must be done to have an equal group size of both intuitive decision makers and heuristic decision makers to make the leap as to one is better than the other.

Glockner, Andreas. (2007). Does intuition beat fast and frugal heuristics? A systematic empirical analysis. 


  1. John,

    Do you think any of Glockner's three decision methods could be used in the IC?

    1. The three decision methods listed are used constantly in study, work, and in everyday life. For intelligence analysis, analysts may not have enough time to examine ALL available information to create an estimate. Instead analysts use TBT, and choose specific criteria by which they analyze the requirement. CMS is the automatic response someone has when posed with a question.

      It is almost certain that analysts use all three of these decision making process models.

  2. Activating all associated information from memories is a tall order. Also, wouldn't you agree that one can use two different intuitive methods at the same time, like a hybrid?

    1. By performing an internal filter of available information, an individual has thus shifted from an automatic process of making a decision to a method.