Decisions... (Day 4: Project 365)
Decisions, decisions. [source]

Heuristics are mental shortcuts used to quickly and efficiently form judgements and make decisions. Below is a list of commonly used heuristics:
  • Availability Heuristic: Availability is ease in which a particular topic can be brought to mind. The availability Heuristic occurs when people make judgements based on how easily they can think of examples.
  • Representativeness Heuristic: Representativeness is how well an an individual (person, object, place, etc.) fits into a group or category. Individuals are more likely to get categorized into a group if they share similarities with that group.
  • Absurdity Heuristic: An absurd situation is one that seems to defy common sense or logic. When presented with an absurd situation we often believe the situation to be untrue or highly unlikely.
  • Authority Heuristic: This heuristic occurs when someone believes or agrees with the opinion of an authority figure just because they are an authority figure. This often happen with parents, teachers, 'experts', and politicians.
Heuristics are useful because their use does not demand much mental effort.We use heuristics daily and often are unaware that we are doing so. A question should be asked: Why do we often use quick methods that do not require much mental effort? The answer is, because they allow us to make judgements and decisions that are often satisfactory. Although using heuristics leads us to 'good enough' answers there is a wide range of situations where using them can lead to incorrect judgements and bad decisions.

In an upcoming post I'm planning on writing more about the Availability Heuristic and how it can go wrong and be used to affect judgements.

1 response to "Heuristics, Mental Shortcuts in Judgements and Decision Making"

  1. good read, looking forward to more

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