Rationality, Heuristic, Intuition & Anticipation (IntRHIA)

Funded by: Structural Funds ERFE (European Fund for Regional Development), Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture

Project period: 01.10.2018 - 31.10.2021

Project management by Prof. Dr. Markus Launer.

Project staff: Dierk Ohler, Michael Ferwagner and Dr. Frithiof Svenson



Certain professional groups are known for their quick or complex decision-making. For example, the complexity in the IT industry is increasing dramatically today due to digitization. Firefighters and police often have to make life-saving decisions within seconds; where wrong decisions can lead to life-threatening situations. This is especially true for doctors who save lives. So far, in research no distinction has been made between different occupational groups. But findings about job-related decision making would be of great benefit to theory and practice. Training and education could be developed to improve decision-making of practitioners.


In the German-language discourse, the subject of intuition is not yet considered differentiated in its important facets. So far, intuition is primarily based on the work of Prof. Gigerenzer, director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and partner of Simply Rational - The Institute for Decisions. In his work expert intuition or heuristic decisions are based on so-called rules of thumb. In German-speaking academia, English-language, and especially American research has received less attention so far. Often, the so-called, unfounded gut feeling is examined as intuition (Prof. Klein). This work even goes so far as to include anticipatory decisions (Dr. Radin).


The approach of this research project is particularly innovative, since so far only studies on the basis of individual theories in relation to rationality are available on the topic of intuition. In this research project, four important, different decision-making principles (RHIA) are to be studied for the first time in a coherent comparison:


  • (R) rational, cognitive decision-making,
  • (H) heuristic decisions ("rules of thumb"),
  • (I) intuitive decisions or the so-called gut feeling or
  • (A) the unfounded decision (anticipation).


The lack of such a coherent study may lie in the complexity of the experimental setup. For the research and especially the development of application fields, the success of such a prototype would be of crucial importance.


Project Management

This research project is is consulted by a regional, scientific advisory board at the highest level , helping to facilitate the collaboration with stakeholders within the region. Dr. Heiko Blume and the mayor of Uelzen Jürgen Markward are involved (  liaised with Joachim Delekat). Data protection and IT security is ensured by Intersoft Consulting Services AG and the technical implementation of IT Verbund Uelzen.