Decomposition patterns in problem solving

Egidi, Massimo (2003) Decomposition patterns in problem solving. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    The paper develops a theory of biases in decision making. Discovering a strategy for solving a game is a complex problem that may be solved by decomposition; a player decomposing a problem into many simple sub-problems may easily identify the optimal solution to each sub-problem: however it is shown that even though all partial solutions are optimal, the solution to the global problem may be largely sub-optimal. The conditions under which a decomposition process gives rise to a sub-optimal solution are explored, and it is shown that the sub-optimalities ultimately originate from the process of categorization that governs the creation of a decomposition pattern. Decisions based on a strategy discovered by decomposition are therefore frequently biased . The persistence of biased behaviours, observed in many experiments, is explained by showing the stability of different and non optimal representations of the same problem. An application to a simplified version of Rubik cube is finally developed.

    Item Type: Departmental Technical Report
    Department or Research center: CEEL (Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory)
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
    Report Number: 3
    Repository staff approval on: 14 Jan 2011

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