satisficing

Alright here’s another article which I’ve spent alot of time musing over today – Wikipedia: Satisficing.

Satisficing, a portmanteau “combining satisfy with suffice”,[1] is a decision-making strategy that attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution. A satisficing strategy may often be (near) optimal if the costs of the decision-making process itself, such as the cost of obtaining complete information, are considered in the outcome calculus.

The word satisfice was coined by Herbert Simon in 1956.[2] He pointed out that human beings lack the cognitive resources to maximize: we usually do not know the relevant probabilities of outcomes, we can rarely evaluate all outcomes with sufficient precision, and our memories are weak and unreliable. A more realistic approach to rationality takes into account these limitations: This is called bounded rationality.

Other links:

Wired: Why are easy decisions so hard?

Wikipedia: Theory of the firm

Upenn: Decision quicksand

Isn’t it interesting, how we can deliberate excessively over small inconsequential choices. It happens. I have encountered it myself. I have tried to eliminate it. I succeed to some extent. My lack of concern for some decisions may actually appear to be dismissive or uninterested. But really, some things don’t matter. Sometimes lots of little things don’t matter. Satisficing is a convenient, and more satisfying way to explain the feeling of good-enough. I particularly like the consideration of the factors of costs of the decision-making process itself, and cost of obtaining complete information.

Very very interesting.

satisficing