lec10-3 - The Availability Heuristics & The...

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The Representativeness Heuristic Psychology 355: Cognitive Psychology Winter Quarter 2009 3/11/2009
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 2 Outline • Availability • Insensitivity to Sampling Bias • Famous Men/Women versus Unfamous Women/Men • Egocentric Bias • Solo Status • Introduction to the Representativeness Heuristic • Overlooking Regression to the Mean • Tomorrow: The Conjunction Fallacy Reminder: Background re Heuristics & Biases Movement
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 3 General Claims : • Human decision making uses a variety of heuristic strategies. • Heuristic strategies are often adaptive, but they are also subject to biases. ----------------------------------------------- : • Design experiments that reveal the biases of particular heuristics. • Use the existence of biases as evidence for people's use of particular heuristics. • The goal is not to show that people make lots of reasoning errors, although sometimes it looks like that is the goal. Availability Heuristics
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 4 Availability Heuristic • Availability heuristic – events are judged more probable if examples of similar events are easy to recall or to construct mentally (imagine). • In general, frequently encountered events are easier to recall. • The availability heuristic exploits the converse of this relationship: Events that are easy to recall are thought to be frequent in occurrence. Possibilities that are easy to imagine seem more likely. Frequency of Experience Other Factors Availability of Memory for an Event Learning Availability of Memory for an Event Judged Frequency of Experience Judgment Examples of Availability (from Plous)
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5 Examples from Plous ( The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making ) • Which claims more lives in the United States: lightning or tornadoes? o More Americans are killed annually by lightning than by tornadoes. Because tornadoes are often preceded by warnings, drills, and other kinds of publicity, the most common answer is tornadoes. • Which is a more likely cause of death in the United States: Being killed by falling airplane parts or being killed by a shark? o In the United States, the chance of dying from falling airplane parts is 30 times greater than dying from a shark attack. Because shark attacks receive more publicity, information about shark attacks is more readily available. • Do more Americans die from a) homicide and car accidents, or b) diabetes and stomach cancer? o More Americans die from diabetes and stomach cancer than from homicide and car accidents, by a ratio of nearly 2:1. Many people guess homicide and car accidents, largely due to the publicity they receive and in turn, their availability in the mind. Availability & Sampling Bias
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lec10-3 - The Availability Heuristics & The...

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