Ever faced a problem in making a decision? But mostly whilemaking a decision all of us focus on one aspect of the problem and ignore allothers, like for example if one person travels long distances for some classes,we might just look at the problem regarding the distances and ignore all otherswhich later on might create us problems, that’s what heuristics are. As per psychology,they are mental shortcuts that usually involve focusing on one aspect of acomplex problem and ignoring others. But sometimes making such decisions canlead to systematic deviations from logic, probability or rational choice theoryand are known as cognitive biases. They lead to intuitive judgements due to thelack of information.
Thus such heuristics helps in making decisions in a shortspan of time without thinking much and analyzing all the avenues of thesituation. In search of the immediate goals, heuristics is the right option asthey speed up the process of making a decision, but like how a coin has twosides, these decisions can be in favor of something or might not be in favor ofsomething. In regard to the notion that using heuristics may lead to incorrectconclusions, it is also the case that using heuristics can lead to conclusionsthat may be correct yet inaccurate in some way. The examples of such are therule of thumb or stereotyping, where people don’t have to think, analyze andinvestigate much but find a solution to the problem quickly. For example, whilestudying a night before for an upcoming exam and you’re left with a lot manythings to study so without thinking much at the last moment, you just study allthe important topics instead of studying the whole book, that’s when you make adecision like which is quick and without using much of a mental effort andthat’s how you use a heuristic.There are three types of heuristics, like the availabilityheuristic whereby people make judgments about the likelihood of an event basedon how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind like. When faced witha choice, we often lack the time or resources to investigate in greater depth.Faced with the need for an immediate decision, the availability heuristicallows people to quickly arrive at a conclusion.
For example, after seeingvarious students have been caught bunking college everyday, you start to thinkthat such incidences are relatively common. So even you start avoiding bunkingcollege as you believe the probability of being caught is high. Theavailability heuristic can be a helpful tool, but it is also important toremember that it can sometimes lead to incorrect assessments. Just becausesomething looms large in your memory does not necessarily mean that it is morecommon, so it can be helpful to rely on numerous tools and decision-makingstrategies when you are trying to make a choice.
On the other hand, representative heuristic talks about themental shortcut which helps us make a decision by comparing information tomental prototypes. The representativeness heuristic was first described bypsychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman during the 1970s. Like otherheuristics, making judgments based on representativeness is intended to work asa type of mental shortcut, allowing us to make decisions quickly.
However, itcan also lead to errors. When we make decisions based on representativeness, wemay be likely to make more errors by overestimating the likelihood thatsomething will occur. Just because an event or object is representative doesnot mean its occurrence is more probable. Like for example, inorder to identifya person as a teacher, people will assume the person to be tidy,well organizedand well behaved but on the other hand if it’s a rapper or a singer, then theassumption would be completely different like as a cool person, longhair,casually dressed etc. In their classic 1974 book Judgment Under Uncertainty:Heuristics and Biases, Tversky and Kahneman describe one example of how therepresentativeness heuristic can influence our perceptions of other people.They describe an individual who is seen as shy, withdrawn, helpful, but notnecessarily concerned with the world of reality.
This person is also describedas tidy, meek, and detailed with a passion for order and structure. In this study, I’ll be referring to two research paperswhere heuristics have played a major role in making decisions. Like in researchpaper prior of 2011 talks about as mentioned by Daniel Kahneman’s and AmosTversky’s that heuristics or rules of thumbs afford useful proxies most of thetime. As in, he talks about the different kinds of heuristics as mentionedbelow in the classical paper by Tversky in 1974, Heuristic Field Of Application Illusration/Example Availability Memory-Based jugdements of frequency or probability Overestimation of risks that are easily available in memory Representativeness Jugdements of likelihood of instances belonging to a category Birth order son-daughter-son-daughter more representative of random outcome than son-son-son Anchoring and adjustment Quantitative estimates on a unidimensional scale Cost calculations biased towards starting value As said in the research paper, The representativenessheuristic involves the prediction of the so-called base-rate neglect. For example,if a person Is having a stomach ache after having dinner then the person mustthink that it may be due to food poisoning but maybe it be due to the otherfactors as well and may be the probability of having food poisoning can bepretty low. As in talking about the most famous example of the word t, peoplemay think of more words of the word t in the initial place than the words witht in the third place. The role of heuristics was a lot on the development ofcognitive,social and applied psychology but nowadays it Is mentioned prettyless in the textbooks and taught to students, but still the decision making andthe judgements relies on Kahneman and Tversky. Whereas the critique given by Gigerenzeras quotes by him is “The heuristics in the heuristics-and-biases program are toovague to count as explanations.
They are labels with the virtue of Rorschachinkblots: A researcher can read into them what he or she wishes. The reluctanceto specify precise and falsifiable process models, to clarify the antecedentconditions that elicit various heuristics, and to work out the relationship betweenheuristics have been repeatedly pointed out”He didn’t approve the theory of representatives and tojustify this he tried explaining as, people think of deaths maybe due to optionA as murder or lightening or as B which is disease or suicide. But people maythink more of option A as it is more upcoming in the media and in the recentnews as compared to option B, as a result he tried justifying this mindset of thepeople. Old research papers also mentioned that heuristics are notuniversally used, they are only used in certain situations. In the recent research on the heuristics in decision making,it explained that it can be triggered by situational factors such as task andcontext and by personal factors too. Earlier research papers have not talkedabout different heuristics but also the classification of the decision making styles.This paper’s main aim is to talk about the relationship between the decisionmaking styles and the use of different heuristics.
Nowadays recently, peoplefocus more on the heuristics rather than an important decision that would leadto cognitive processes. This research paper talks about the two heuristicswhich are recognition heuristic and the take the best heuristic by Gigerenzer. Therecognition heuristic as an efficient rule of thumb can be described as a strategyrelying on only one piece of information and ignoring other information.
Accordingto Gigerenzer,if a decision maker has to make a choice between two objects andrecognizes one of them, he or she infers that the recognized object has thehigher value on a given criterion and thus will prefer it over the unrecognizedobject.On the other hand, take the best focuses not upon thecomplicated information and focus on just one cue.