Purpose: This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework on how the representativeness heuristic operates in the decision-making process. Specifically, the authors unbundle representativeness into its building blocks: search rule, stopping rule and decision rule. Furthermore, the focus is placed on how individual-level cognitive and behavioral factors, namely experience, intuition and overconfidence, affect the functioning of this heuristic. Design/methodology/approach: From a theoretical standpoint, the authors build on dual-process theories and on the adaptive toolbox view from the “fast and frugal heuristics” perspective to develop an integrative conceptual framework that uncovers the mechanisms underlying the representativeness heuristic. Findings: The authors’ conceptualization suggests that the search rule used in representativeness is based on analogical mapping from previous experience, the stopping rule is the representational stability of the analogs and the decision rule is the choice of the alternative upon which there is a convergence of representations and that exceeds the decision maker's aspiration level. In this framework, intuition may help the decision maker to cross-map potentially competing analogies, while overconfidence affects the search time and costs and alters both the stopping and the decision rule. Originality/value: The authors develop a conceptual framework on representativeness, as one of the most common, though still poorly investigated, heuristics. The model offers a nuanced perspective that explores the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms that shape the use of representativeness in decision-making. The authors also discuss the theoretical implications of their model and outline future research avenues that may further contribute to enriching their understanding of decision-making processes.
- Decision making