Heuristics and Biases Illustrations

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Heuristics and Biases Illustrations

A heuristic is a mental shortcut used by humans when attempting to make a decision or a judgment as one may not have the needed time to think things through in a certain situation. This mental shortcut can be seen as involving cognitive stereotypes or past experiences that influence one’s present or future thoughts. Heuristics are strategies which reduce the complex tasks of assessing probabilities and predicting values to simpler judgmental operations. It is also a technique to arrive at satisfactory solutions with the modest amount of processing, implying that people seek to reduce the effort associated with decision processes. Therefore, heuristics use principles of effort-reduction and simplification. Therefore, heuristics are acquired habits that might lead one to either make faulty decisions or successful ones. As human beings we opt for different kinds of heuristics, which include the following: availability heuristics, affect heuristics, anchoring heuristics and representativeness heuristics.

The representativeness heuristic is the judgment heuristic; it is the heuristic a human relies on when trying to judge a person, a phenomenon or an event based on an existing pattern in one’s mind. In our everyday life, we tend to apply few forms of representativeness heuristics. For example, last summer, I and my two friends, Sharon and Sandy went on a trip to Las Vegas. Sharon and I decided that we will not gamble. However, one night Sandy started gambling. After couple games, Sandy met back with us at the casino and told us that she had acquired a lot of money after gambling in a table and recommended that we give it a try that night. Sharon, convinced that she would be destined to the same outcome as our friend Sandy, took the decision to make it to the table and gamble. She decided to venture with all the money in her…...

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