I haven't found anything that speaks directly to this question, but here is the account Simon (1990) p9 provides of satisficing

If the task domain has little structure or the structure is unknown to us, we apply so-called "weak methods," which experience has shown to be useful in many domains, but which may still require us to search a good deal. One weak method is satisficing--using experience to construct an expectation of how good a solution we might reasonably achieve, and halting search as soon as a solution is reached that meets the expectation.

Simon, H. A. (1990). Invariants of human behavior. Annual review of psychology, 41(1), 1-20.


1 Answer 1


Satisficing is goal directed and satisficers intend to achieve satisfactory results. Therefore, satisficing seems to involve conscious choices being made.

However, in Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT), unconscious thought produces superior decisions compared to conscious thought when decision making is complex and there are paragraphs of Nelson and Winter (1982) that indicate that satisficing can be achieved from a sequence of mechanical, automatic steps of rule following.

Therefore looking at both H.A. Simon's conception and the findings from Nelson and Winter, satisficing can be either conscious or unconscious.


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