University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Analysis of Mental Shortcuts
Being creatures gifted with reason, people are always thinking and trying to rationalize things. For each person and situation, there are different kinds of ways of thinking or mental shortcuts. One of them is Representativeness heuristic. This refers to the way a person thinks according to his insticnts and past experiences. Unlike other modes of thinking, representativeness heuristic consumes less time. It does not involve much cognitive activity. In this mode of thinking, people tend to refer to the past for decision making and judgment of occurences or events (Akent et al, 2007).
Another type of type of heuristic is the anchoring and adjustment heuristic. This type of heuristic greatly relies on an anchor or initial opinion or thought about a certain object, place, or situation. Despite having other evidence before the judgment, the judgment and the trail of thought of the person remains to be hanging on to the initial thought. Unlike representativeness heuristic, this mode of thinking is slower in that more opinions are gathere before a decision is made and the rationalization concluded (Akent et al, 2007). The third kind of heuristic is the availability heuristic.
This type of heuristic make use of examples for making a decision or judging an event or occurence. In addition, availability heuristic the frequency of an event may be predicted through the said example. As compared to the first two kinds of heuristic, this may be slower as there is a need to gather enough examples as basis for decision to be made. If there are no examples at hand, another mode of thinking may be utilized(Akent et al, 2007). If carefully analyzed, these modes of thinking are all faster as compared to the normal flow of thought in a person’s mind.
However, if measured and checked for results, all can be accurate and fast given a specific situation. For instance, the availability heuristic is faster if there are examples at hand. However, without them the other types of heuristic will prove to be more accurate and faster. Thus, all three mental shortcust prove to be helpful in a particular situation in life but not in its entirety. References Elliot Aronson, Timothy D. Wilson, and Robin M. Akert. (2007). Social psychology (6th ed. ). Prentice Hall