Take-the-best (heuristic)

Take-the-best (heuristic) 2018-02-09T11:39:38+00:00

Take-the-best is a simple decision-making shortcut that people may apply when choosing between alternatives. It is a one-reason decision rule, a type of heuristic where judgments are based on a single “good” reason only, ignoring other cues (Gigerenzer & Gaissmaier, 2011).  Using the take-the-best heuristic, a decision maker will base the choice on one attribute that is perceived to discriminate most effectively between the options (Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996). One study investigated voters’ perceptions of how US presidential candidates would handle the single issue that voters regarded as most important. A model based on this issue (as a take-the-best attribute used by potential voters) correctly chose the winner of the popular vote in 97% of all predictions (Graefe & Armstrong, 2012).


Gigerenzer, G., & Gaissmaier, W. (2011). Heuristic decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 451-482

Gigerenzer, G., & Goldstein, D. G. (1996). Reasoning the fast and frugal way: Models of bounded rationality. Psychological Review, 103, 650-669.

Graefe, A., & Armstrong, J. S. (2012). Predicting elections from the most important issue: A test of the take‐the‐best heuristic. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25(1), 41-48.


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