Date of Award

8-19-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Managerial Sciences

First Advisor

Thomas Whalen - Chair

Second Advisor

Julian Diaz III

Third Advisor

C. S. Thachenkary

Fourth Advisor

Rodney Schultz

Abstract

In their book, Gigerenzer and Selten (2001) described human being as an organism that adaptively reacts to its environment by selecting ecologically rational heuristics that are contingent on task demands; that is, adaptivity assumption. Empirical evidence of the adaptivity assumption is, however, mixed. In this paper, I review prior experiments related to testing the adaptivity assumption and criticize some of the past findings. From this criticism, the research questions are formed. The research objective of this paper is to test whether or not people choose their decision strategy as a reaction to environmental conditions. In this dissertation, the use of the take-the-best (TTB) heuristic is investigated for different treatments, which are information structure, information cost, and social rationality. Participants go through 180 trials of a pair comparison task. Using the proportion of TTB trials as a dependent variable, three hypotheses regarding the effects of three treatments are tested. The results of the experiments indicate that only the social rationality is a significant factor in promoting the TTB heuristic. Besides the test of the hypothesis, an exploratory analysis of participants’ data is presented.

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