Rational Intuition – The Ultimatum Game as a Case Study

31 May 2016
Versione stampabile

4 PM, room 3E, Department of Economics and Management

Speaker: Aharon Itzhak, ITC Herzliya


Decision theorists have long distinguished between analytical and intuitive decision making, often attributing them with different processing modes. Despite the flourishing theoretical literature supporting this dichotomous view, the number of empirical attempts to contrast the effects of intuition and deliberation is limited. One reason for this could originate from the traditional assumption that reasoning and analysis always lead to better outcomes.
Nevertheless, some of the theories subscribing to this dichotomous view assume that under certain circumstances intuitive decisions can bring better results than reasoning.
A number of empirical studies have given support to this notion, suggesting that for some tasks we are really better off without conscious thinking. These results were often explained by the hypothesis that reasoning can lead people to use non-optimal criteria and consequently to make worse decisions, or that intuitive decisions can benefit from the use of “smart heuristics”.

In the present article I discuss this debate and end up suggesting that as we gain experience many of our intuitive decisions become rational (and when it is not it is due to the analytical system).