Heuristics for Ordering Cue Search in Decision Making

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 17 (NIPS 2004)

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Peter Todd, Anja Dieckmann


Simple lexicographic decision heuristics that consider cues one at a time in a particular order and stop searching for cues as soon as a decision can be made have been shown to be both accurate and frugal in their use of information. But much of the simplicity and success of these heuristics comes from using an appropriate cue order. For instance, the Take The Best heuristic uses validity order for cues, which requires considerable computation, potentially undermining the computational advantages of the simple decision mechanism. But many cue orders can achieve good decision performance, and studies of sequential search for data records have proposed a number of simple ordering rules that may be of use in constructing appropriate decision cue orders as well. Here we consider a range of simple cue ordering mechanisms, including tallying, swapping, and move-to-front rules, and show that they can find cue orders that lead to reasonable accuracy and considerable frugality when used with lexicographic decision heuristics.