Skip main navigation

What can we learn from the bounded rationality approach?

In this step we discuss what you can learn from the bounded rationality approach
Two pieces of a puzzle being connected
© ACTISS

One of the most important lessons we learn from a bounded rationality approach is that human cognition and how people make choices is largely shaped by who we are as a species and what resources we have available to make decisions. Many of our decisions are made in a social context.

People adapted to this by developing some cognitive strategies that help us make decisions and judgments in the social world. For example, when we try to solve a logical puzzle like the Wason selection task, it seems to be easier when it is framed as a story about following and breaking social norms. Some researchers have argued that this shows that how we think is context dependent. We are used to solving some types of problems, like social compliance, and not used to solving other problems, like cards’ compositions. Even if these problems are logically the same, only the first one triggers the easily available mechanisms or heuristics for solving it that we have developed.

© ACTISS
This article is from the free online

Decision Making in a Complex World: Using Computer Simulations to Understand Human Behaviour

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education