Laplace's Theories of Cognitive Illusions, Heuristics, and Biases

18 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2018 Last revised: 26 Dec 2018

See all articles by Joshua B. Miller

Joshua B. Miller

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 1, 2018

Abstract

In his book from the early 1800s, Essai Philosophique sur les Probabilités, the mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace anticipated many ideas developed in the 1970s in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics, explaining human tendencies to deviate from norms of rationality in the presence of probability and uncertainty. A look at Laplace's theories and reasoning is striking, both in how modern they seem and in how much progress he made without the benefit of systematic experimentation. We argue that this work points to these theories being more fundamental and less contingent on recent experimental findings than we might have thought.

Keywords: Heuristics, Biases, Laplace, Behavioral Economics, Psychology

JEL Classification: B1, B4, D03, D81

Suggested Citation

Miller, Joshua B. and Gelman, Andrew, Laplace's Theories of Cognitive Illusions, Heuristics, and Biases (December 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3149224 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3149224

Joshua B. Miller (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

111 Barry St.
Melbourne, VIC, 3053
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://joshua-benjamin-miller.com

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-4883 (Phone)
212-663-2454 (Fax)

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