Project Erdfelder & Pohl

Currently Funded Project

Optimization theory of memory-based heuristic decisions: Model and evaluation (Erdfelder & Pohl; 2013-2016)

In our preceding project "Determinants of fast-and-frugal decision making with the recognition heuristic (RH): A cost-benefit approach", we developed and validated formal measurement models for simple decision heuristics, especially the RH (Hilbig, Erdfelder, & Pohl, 2010), but also other heuristics (Hilbig, Erdfelder, & Pohl, 2011). According to the RH, people should choose the recognized object whenever they are to decide between an unrecognized and a recognized choice option. With respect to cost-benefit aspects, the RH is attractive because it often combines high decision accuracy with low effort. In line with this argument, we could show that the RH is used most frequently in contexts in which effort reduction is particularly important (e.g., Hilbig, Erdfelder, & Pohl, 2012; Hilbig, Scholl, & Pohl, 2010). Our renewal proposal builds on this work and focuses on two important questions: 1) What is the cognitive mechanism underlying selection or non-selection of the RH as a decision strategy? 2) How can we reconcile research on recognition-based decision making with recognition memory research?




Principal Investigators:

Prof. Dr. Edgar Erdfelder
Psychology III, University of Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 2146
Personal Homepage

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger F. Pohl
Psychology III, University of Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 2133
Personal Homepage


In advisory capacity:

Prof. Benjamin E. Hilbig, Ph.D.
Cognitive Psychology Lab, University of Koblenz-Landau
Tel: +49 (0) 6341 280 34234
Personal Homepage


Project staff:

Daniel Heck, M.Sc.
Psychology III, University of Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 3551
Personal Homepage


Former project staff:

Marta Castela, M.Sc.
Psychology III, University of Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 2145

Dipl.-Math. Martha Michalkiewicz
Psychology III, University of Mannheim
Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 2145


Student Research Assistents:
Sabine Schellhaas
Nikoletta Symeoni
Helen Dillmann
Katharina Fischer
Johannes Prager 

Recently Funded Project

Fast-and-frugal decision making: A cost-benefit approach (Erdfelder & Pohl; 2010-2013)

The project serves several goals that are closely related to the overarching themes of the research unit ‘contextualized decision making’. In particular, we are concerned with underlying processes in simple, non-compensatory judgment mechanisms investigated herein, for example the recognition heuristic, fluency heuristic, take-the-best, and others. For several of these strategies, the processes leading to observed outcomes are not sufficiently understood and thus true use of these heuristics is often methodologically challenging to unravel. We bridge such gaps by means of formal multinomial processing tree models of comparative judgments. Next, in a more substantive vein, we strive to uncover the contextual factors determining the judgment processes, investigated by means of the measurement models developed. This quest for contextual determinants and moderators is guided by (but not bound to) the notion of adaptive decision making, that is, an effort-accuracy trade-off in strategy selection. Finally, we address individual differences in the use of fast-and-frugal judgment heuristics and the cognitive and motivational personality characteristics associated with these differences.


Research groupPublicationsActivitiesSummer School 2015Small Group Meeting 2017