Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 384
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hüttel, Björn A. Schumann, Jan Hendrik Mende, Martin Scott, Maura L. and Wagner, Christian J. 2018. How Consumers Assess Free E-Services. Journal of Service Research, Vol. 21, Issue. 3, p. 267.

    Effron, Daniel A. 2018. It Could Have Been True: How Counterfactual Thoughts Reduce Condemnation of Falsehoods and Increase Political Polarization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 44, Issue. 5, p. 729.

    Krott, Nora Rebekka and Oettingen, Gabriele 2018. Mental contrasting of counterfactual fantasies attenuates disappointment, regret, and resentment. Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 42, Issue. 1, p. 17.

    Weine, Erienne R. and Kim, Nancy S. 2018. The Influence of Event and Reaction Context on Clinicians’ Disorder Diagnoses. Clinical Psychological Science, Vol. 6, Issue. 2, p. 203.

    Shaffer, Victoria A Focella, Elizabeth S Hathaway, Andrew Scherer, Laura D and Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J 2018. On the Usefulness of Narratives: An Interdisciplinary Review and Theoretical Model. Annals of Behavioral Medicine,

    Ong, Desmond C. Zaki, Jamil and Goodman, Noah D. 2018. Computational Models of Emotion Inference in Theory of Mind: A Review and Roadmap. Topics in Cognitive Science,

    Tiba, Alexandru I. 2018. Feelings-As-Embodied Information: Studying the Role of Feelings As Images in Emotional Disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, Issue. ,

    Bishop, Sonia J. and Gagne, Christopher 2018. Anxiety, Depression, and Decision Making: A Computational Perspective. Annual Review of Neuroscience, Vol. 41, Issue. 1, p. 371.

    Montford, William J. Peloza, John and Goldsmith, Ronald Earl 2017. No pain, no gain: how PACE information attenuates consumption. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34, Issue. 7, p. 525.

    Demir, Imran 2017. Overconfidence and Risk Taking in Foreign Policy Decision Making. p. 9.

    Wray, Robert E. Folsom-Kovarik, Jeremiah T. Schmorrow, Dylan Jones, Randolph M. and Marinier, Robert 2017. Advances in Cross-Cultural Decision Making. Vol. 480, Issue. , p. 29.

    Nelissen, Rob M. A. 2017. The motivational properties of hope in goal striving. Cognition and Emotion, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 225.

    Maloney, David M. and Egan, Suzanne M. 2017. The effect of autonomy on counterfactual thinking about controllable events. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 29, Issue. 3, p. 337.

    Hurt, Catherine S. Cleanthous, Sophie and Newman, Stanton P. 2017. Further explorations of illness uncertainty: carers’ experiences of Parkinson’s disease. Psychology & Health, Vol. 32, Issue. 5, p. 549.

    Parkinson, Mary and Byrne, Ruth M. J. 2017. Counterfactual and semi-factual thoughts in moral judgements about failed attempts to harm. Thinking & Reasoning, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. 409.

    Neumann, Franziska 2017. Antecedents and effects of emotions in strategic decision-making: a literature review and conceptual model. Management Review Quarterly, Vol. 67, Issue. 3, p. 175.

    Repiso, Isabel 2017. Tense-Aspect-Modality in a Second Language. Vol. 50, Issue. , p. 213.

    Wu, Yin van Dijk, Eric Li, Hong Aitken, Michael and Clark, Luke 2017. On the Counterfactual Nature of Gambling Near-misses: An Experimental Study. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 30, Issue. 4, p. 855.

    Voigt, Sebastian and Hinz, Oliver 2017. Assessing the economic effects of server launches in free-to-play MMO games. Journal of Business Economics, Vol. 87, Issue. 4, p. 421.

    Byrne, Ruth M. J. 2017. Counterfactual Thinking: From Logic to Morality. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 26, Issue. 4, p. 314.

  • Print publication year: 1982
  • Online publication date: May 2013

14 - The simulation heuristic


Our original treatment of the availability heuristic (Tversky & Kahneman, 1973, 11) discussed two classes of mental operations that “bring things to mind”: the retrieval of instances and the construction of examples or scenarios. Recall and construction are quite different ways of bringing things to mind; they are used to answer different questions, and they follow different rules. Past research has dealt mainly with the retrieval of instances from memory, and the process of mental construction has been relatively neglected.

To advance the study of availability for construction, we now sketch a mental operation that we label the simulation heuristic. Our starting point is a common introspection: There appear to be many situations in which questions about events are answered by an operation that resembles the running of a simulation model. The simulation can be constrained and controlled in several ways: The starting conditions for a “run” can be left at their realistic default values or modified to assume some special contingency; the outcomes can be left unspecified, or else a target state may be set, with the task of finding a path to that state from the initial conditions. A simulation does not necessarily produce a single story, which starts at the beginning and ends with a definite outcome. Rather, we construe the output of simulation as an assessment of the ease with which the model could produce different outcomes, given its initial conditions and operating parameters.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Judgment under Uncertainty
  • Online ISBN: 9780511809477
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *