Assessing and explaining individual differences within the adaptive toolbox framework : new methodological and empirical approaches to the recognition heuristic

Michalkiewicz, Martha

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-413227
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2016
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Pohl, Rüdiger F.
Date of oral examination: 9 August 2016
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Kognitive Psychologie u. Differentielle Psychologie (Erdfelder 2002-2019)
Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences- CDSS (Social Sciences)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Subject headings (SWD): Entscheidungsverhalten , Wiedererkennen , Heuristik
Keywords (English): Decision making , fast and frugal heuristics , recognition heuristic , individual differences , personality , intelligence , multinomial processing tree models , hierarchical Bayesian modelling
Abstract: Individuals do not only show large differences with regard to the judgments and decisions they make, but also with regard to the strategies they use to arrive at their decisions. However, individual differences in decision strategy selection have gained insufficient attention so far. For this reason, I investigate individual differences with respect to the application of the fast-and-frugal heuristics of the adaptive toolbox – a framework that has become increasingly important within the field of decision making. In particular, I address one of the most prominent examples of the adaptive toolbox: the recognition heuristic (RH), that is, a decision strategy for paired comparisons which bases choice solely on recognition while ignoring any additional information. The overarching aim of my thesis is to enhance the understanding of the cognitive and personality traits underlying individual differences in use of the RH. However, so far, there has been a deficiency in the methods relating individual traits to RH-use. For this purpose, I extend a measurement model of the RH to a hierarchical version incorporating individual traits directly into the estimation of RH-use. This methodological advance allows detection of the dispositional determinants of variation in strategy selection regarding the RH in a straightforward and unbiased way. Equipped with the required methods, the first project reported in this thesis investigates temporal and cross-situational stability in use of the RH. By demonstrating these important preconditions, I ensure that it is principally possible to find reliable relations between individual traits and RH-use. Building upon these results, the second project addresses the effect of (fluid and crystallized) intelligence on individual differences in adaptive RH-use. In sum, there is supportive evidence that adaptive application of the RH to the decision context is moderated by fluid but not crystallized intelligence. Extending this line of research, the third project aims at explaining individual differences in RH-use free of any interaction with the situation. In brief, RHuse is found to decrease with need for cognition (i.e., inclination towards cognitively demanding activities) but not to increase with faith in intuition (i.e., trust in feelings). To conclude, by means of the three projects reported herein and with the aid of the newly developed hierarchical measurement model of RH-use, I demonstrate that RH-use represents a person-specific decision making style that is temporally and crosssituationally stable, and that is affected by fluid intelligence and need for cognition.

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