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Gerd Gigerenzer

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Gerd Gigerenzer is Director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and former Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. He won the AAAS Prize for the best article in the behavioral sciences.

Recent Career:

1997-Present Director (Managing Director, 2000-2001) Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
1995-1997 Director Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich
1992-1995 Professor, Department of Psychology, and Committee for the Conceptual Foundations of Science University of Chicago, USA
1990-1992 Professor of Psychology University of Salzburg, Austria
1984-1990Professor of Psychology University of Konstanz (Chairman, 1988-1989)
1982-1984 Privat-Dozent Department of Psychology, University of Munich
1977-1982 Assistant Professor Department of Psychology, University of Munich

Selected Books Published:

*Calculated Risks: How To Know When Numbers Deceive You, the German translation of which won the Scientific Book of the Year Prize in 2002.
Gerd Gigerenzer has also published two books on simple Hueristics:
* Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart (with Peter Todd & The ABC Research Group) and
* Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox (with Reinhard Selten, a Nobel laureate in economics).
* Adaptive Thinking: Rationality in the Real World
* The Empire of Chance : How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life

Selected Honors and Awards:

*Batten Fellow, Darden Business School, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 2004.
*Visiting professor, University of Munich, 2004.
*2003 Reckoning with Risk shortlisted for the Aventis Prize for Science Books
*2002 Science Book of the Year Prize for Einmaleins der Skepsis (German translation of Calculated Risks), awarded by bild der wissenschaft


“What interests me is the question of how humans learn to live with uncertainty. Before the scientific revolution determinism was a strong ideal. Religion brought about a denial of uncertainty, and many people knew that their kin or their race was exactly the one that God had favored. They also thought they were entitled to get rid of competing ideas and the people that propagated them. How does a society change from this condition into one in which we understand that there is this fundamental uncertainty? How do we avoid the illusion of certainty to produce the understanding that everything, whether it be a medical test or deciding on the best cure for a particular kind of cancer, has a fundamental element of uncertainty?”

“Isn’t more information always better?” asks Gerd Gigerenzer. “Why else would bestsellers on how to make good decisions tell us to consider all pieces of information, weigh them carefully, and compute the optimal choice, preferably with the aid of a fancy statistical software package? In economics, Nobel prizes are regularly awarded for work that assumes that people make decisions as if they had perfect information and could compute the optimal solution for the problem at hand. But how do real people make good decisions under the usual conditions of little time and scarce information?”

Gerd Gigerenzer’s Home Page at the Max Planck Institute


*Gigerenzer, G. (1982). Messung und axiomatische Modellbildung: Theoretische Grundlagen und experimentelle Untersuchungen zur sensorischen und sozialen Wahrnehmung. Habilitationsschrift, Munich.
*Gigerenzer, G. (1977). Nonmetrische multidimensionale Skalierung als Modell des Urteilsverhaltens. Zur Integration von dimensionsanalytischer Methodik und psychologischer Theorienbildung. Dissertation, Munich.

Gerd Gigerenzer Profile continued…


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