The take-the-best heuristic estimates which of two alternatives has a higher value on a criterion by choosing the alternative based on the first cue that discriminates between the alternatives, where cues are ordered by cue validity (highest to lowest). In the original formulation, the cues were assumed to have binary values (yes or no) or have an unknown value.
Gerd Gigerenzer and Daniel Goldstein discovered that the heuristic did surprisingly well at making accurate inferences in real-world environments, such as inferring which of two cities is larger. The heuristic has since been modified and applied to domains from medicine, artificial intelligence, and political forecasting.
- Gigerenzer, G. & Goldstein, D. G. (1996). "Reasoning the fast and frugal way: Models of bounded rationality". Psychological Review, 103, 650-669.
- Graefe, Andreas; Armstrong, J. Scott (2012). "Predicting elections from the most important issue: A test of the take‐the‐best heuristic". Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 25 (1): 41–48. doi:10.1002/bdm.710.
- Czerlinski, J., Goldstein, D. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (1999). "How good are simple heuristics?" In Gigerenzer, G., Todd, P. M. & the ABC Group, Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart. New York: Oxford University Press.