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On optimal satisficing: how simple policies can achieve excellent results

Author: Bearden, J. Neil ; Connolly, TerryINSEAD Area: Decision Sciences In: Decision modeling and behavior in complex and uncertain environments - Kugler, Tamar;Smith, J. Cole;Connolly, T - 2008 - Book Language: EnglishDescription: p. 79-97.Type of document: INSEAD ChapterNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: Herbert Simon introduced the notion of satisficing to explain how boundedly rational agents might approach difficult sequential decision problems. His satisficing decision makers were offered as an alternative to optimizers, who have impressive computational capacities which allow them to maximize. There is no reason, however, why satisficers cannot do their task optimally. In this paper, we present a simplified sequential search problem for a satisficing decision maker, and show how to compute its optimal satisficing search policies. Our findings demonstrate that satisficing, when done properly, can be a quite effective search policy.
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Herbert Simon introduced the notion of satisficing to explain how boundedly rational agents might approach difficult sequential decision problems. His satisficing decision makers were offered as an alternative to optimizers, who have impressive computational capacities which allow them to maximize. There is no reason, however, why satisficers cannot do their task optimally. In this paper, we present a simplified sequential search problem for a satisficing decision maker, and show how to compute its optimal satisficing search policies. Our findings demonstrate that satisficing, when done properly, can be a quite effective search policy.

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