UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Timo Ehrig

Timo’s primary intention is to understand how we can systematically learn, and search in task environments if uncertainty extends beyond risk. In this context, one of Timo’s key results throughout different studies is that entrepreneurial success with breakthrough innovations may rest on discipline in imagination. In this perspective, logical thinking should be married with creativity and mental time travel. Moreover, Timo investigates heuristics to learn heuristics. People need to first infer properties of environments before they can successfully apply learning strategies. While it is by now widely accepted that heuristic decision-making can be “rational”, leading to adaptive success in changing environments, Timo (and coauthors) work provides further insights into the principles on which such success rests. The key idea is that heuristics help to detect structure in task environments. 

Both taken together, Timo’s work suggests that we need to extend and augment our ideas about rationality when uncertainty extends beyond risk. The dividing lines that still dominate: between thinking and feeling, between creativity and analysis, and between simplification and data need to be crossed to find fresh insights into the working of human cognition when we cannot know but create the future.