A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking. It affects everyone. Biases affect you even when you’re aware of them and actively try to correct the errors.
Heuristic means a mental shortcut to solve a problem. The Availability Heuristic is a cognitive bias which makes people think that whatever comes easily to mind has to be correct.
The world is safer today than ever before. This seems unbelievable, even though it is factually correct. We constantly see news about death and destruction in graphic detail, but either forget or are unaware of how the world was in the past. It is simpler to think that the world is deteriorating day-by-day.
The world is more prosperous today than ever before. This is statistically accurate information. But, it is difficult to believe the statistics. Because there is apparently a recession and we see LinkedIn is full of people in pain desperately looking for jobs.
Our recent experiences and memories play a huge role in how we perceive the world. That perception also guides us towards actions and decisions. When too much importance is given to a heuristic that depends entirely on what is simpler rather than what is correct, we risk making bad calls.
It is extremely important to understand and manage the availability heuristic to ensure that we make decisions based on facts and statistics, and thereby increase the chances of success.
Simple ≠ Correct,
Please note:This is not about gut feeling. That’s a totally different story, but that’s for some other day.