The accuracy-coherence tradeoff in cognition

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Abstract
I argue that bounded agents face a systematic accuracy-coherence tradeoff in cognition. Agents must choose whether to structure their cognition in ways likely to promote coherence or accuracy. I illustrate the accuracy-coherence tradeoff by showing how it arises out of at least two component tradeoffs: a coherence-complexity tradeoff between coherence and cognitive complexity, and a coherence-variety tradeoff between coherence and strategic variety. These tradeoffs give rise to an accuracy-coherence tradeoff because privileging coherence over complexity or strategic variety often leads to a corresponding reduction in accuracy. I conclude with a discussion of two normative consequences for the study of bounded rationality: the importance of procedural rationality and the role of coherence in theories of bounded rationality.
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THOTAT-17
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Archival date: 2021-08-09
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2021-08-09

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