invivandsocietystudyguidetestONE - 1 Anchoring or focalism...

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1. Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor," on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. During normal decision making, individuals anchor, or overly rely, on specific information or a specific value and then adjust to that value to account for other elements of the circumstance. Usually once the anchor is set, there is a bias toward that value. Take, for example, a person looking to buy a used car. They may focus excessively on the odometer reading and model year of the car, and use those criteria as a basis for evaluating the value of the car, rather than considering how well the engine or the transmission is maintained. 2. The availability heuristic is a rule of thumb , heuristic , or cognitive bias , where people base their prediction of the frequency of an event or the proportion within a population based on how easily an example can be brought to mind. In these instances the ease of imagining an example or the vividness and emotional impact of that example becomes more credible than actual statistical probability. Because an example is easily brought to mind or mentally "available", the single example is considered as representative of the whole rather than as just a single example in a range of data. Several examples: Someone argues that cigarette smoking is not unhealthy because his grandfather smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and lived to be 100. The grandfather's health could simply be an unusual case that does not speak to the health of smokers in general. [1] The president gives the State of the Union address and says that walnut farmers need a special farm subsidy. He points to a farmer in the balcony who is sitting next to his wife and explains how the farmer will benefit. Others who watch and discuss later agree that the subsidy is needed based on the benefit to that farmer. The farmer, however, might be the only person who will benefit from the subsidy. We don't know if walnut farmers in general need this subsidy. The following example is due to the psychologist Stuart Sutherland : "'Are there more words with "r" as the first letter than with "r" in the third position?' 'Are there more words beginning with "k" than with "k" as the third letter?' Unless you sense that there is some sort of trick being played, you are likely to answer yes to both questions. But you would be wrong - there are more words with 'r' or 'k' in the third position than there are words beginning with each letter. The mistake is made because words, both in dictionaries and in our minds, are arranged by their initial letter. It is easy to retrieve from memory words beginning with 'r', like 'roar', 'rusty' and 'ribald', but much more difficult to recover words like 'street', 'care' and 'borrow', despite their greater frequency." [2]
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This phenomenon was first reported by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman , who also identified the representativeness heuristic . To see how availability differs from related terms vividness and salience , see
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  • Spring '09
  • MAris
  • Cognitive Bias, Fundamental Attribution Error, Hindsight bias

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