The Heuristics and Biases School

Mark Kelman

in The Heuristics Debate

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755608
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895236 | DOI:
The Heuristics and Biases School

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Heuristics and biases theorists treat conventional rational choice models as normatively appealing, but descriptively inaccurate. The chapter emphasizes that people often perceive some feature P that they believe is a proxy for some fact-of-interest F, and snap “System One” judgments about P substitute for more considered “System Two” judgments about F. Quick, relatively effortless heuristic judgments based on the substitute variable may be accurate enough, most of the time, but people using them may sometimes act just like uninformed people act. At the same time, heuristics may lead people to evaluate end-states in ways that are either plainly problematic (incoherent or frame-sensitive) or at least arguably troublesome (prone to be regretted.) Since much of conventional policy science is grounded in the supposition that people will generally be able to choose from among available options those that maximize value, the discovery that people will often misestimate probabilities and misevaluate the end-states that could result if they chose a particular option is naturally quite a challenge to the common wisdom.

Keywords: heuristics and biases; availability heuristic; representativeness heuristic; anchoring and adjustment; Kahneman and Tversky; rational choice; variation in heuristic use; System One; System Two; attribute substitution; elimination by aspects; preference-elicitation sensitivity

Chapter.  15348 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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