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The idea that humans are "rational creatures" has begun to totter over the past few years. It is not the case that humans fail at solving problems (in everyday life and in the psychological lab). Quite to the contrary: the capacity to solve the most complicated problems and to reason about the most complex states of affairs is compelling - otherwise, human mankind would not have become what it is today.

However, it has become clear that humans depart from decisions that you might call "rational". They rarely comply with the norms in logic, probability theory and mathematical decision theory. For example, for just a potential high win most humans (and organizations) accept more risks and losses than they should legitimately accept if they were committed to the rules of logic, probability theory, or mathematical decision theory.

Are human beings not that "rational" at all? And, what is (presumably) rational? And what is irrational? How do humans make decisions? How can errors of reasoning be avoided? What are the limits of our ability to think? How can we improve our abilities of effective problem-solving and reasonable decision-making?

The Priority Program „New Frameworks of Rationality“ (SPP1516) intends to answer these questions and others, in order to get new insights into human thinking and decision-making. The program is funded since 2011 by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and aims to bundle research on rationality in Germany and beyond. It currently involves 14 research projects in philosophy, psychology, and computer science, which are connected in a supraregional and interdisciplinary way.

Group 2015

The scientists in the Priority Program "New Frameworks of Rationality" plan to jointly overcome the borders of disciplines and to merge their different theories, methods, and ways of thinking in order to explore the nature of human rationality. The program already has a considerable record of success, and we would like to invite you to contact us if you want to learn more about our research. Some information about people, projects , and our activities can be found on these websites.

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