This article will be the continuation of the article I did on decisions. We make decisions daily and some of the them are what some would call routine like deciding what to wear, others are made for us, such as attending to a sick baby and still others are major life changing decisions like getting married, divorced and so on.
However, we don’t always employ the same ways to make our decisions nor the same amount of time, For example, some must be split second decisions and some may take a long long time to decide.
We often make quick decisions and for this we may use the heuristic method. Heuristic models are for quick decisions that are not life changing for the most part.
There are two heuristic methods:
The Representativeness Heuristic:
With this type of heuristic you will make your decision based on what you already know and the probability of it occurring again. Gamblers base their decisions to continue gambling based on a winning hand or winning streak.
The Availability Heuristic:
In this case you have not experienced the event like the gambler but you can quickly recall examples of the event to which you will base your decision. For example, the last two times you visited your family you got into an argument with your sister who still lives at home, so you may decide not to visit your family because of it.
Another type of decision method is based on overconfidence:
Overconfidence can led to some very poor choices. For example, you are an excellent student and always ace the exams with not much preparation. You decide this next exam is going to be just as easy and you to very little studying at all. The result is you fail the exam.
Why could this happen? The trouble in the overconfidence model is that you really don’t know what you don’t know. In the example of the failed exam, there may have been questions asked about the subject that you glossed over and although you could answer in part you could not give enough of an in depth answer to merit a passing grade
Hindsight Bias Theory
The best way to explain this situation is to come to an outcome and say I knew it all the long. This is hindsight. What you do is string the events together and see the clues but you only see the clues after the fact. You do not have special ability to predict them before it happened. For example, you have been trying to avoid someone let’s say an old boyfriend so you don’t go to places that he would normally frequent.
You do go somewhere else and he just happened to be there. In hindsight you say I should have known he would be there because Sally was there and he is always with Sally, The trouble is Sally was there because she helped with the planning of the event. The old boyfriend showed up and even surprised Sally. This event happened 40 miles from his home and he was supposed to be working that night. He didn’t even know Sally was there. All he knew was that his friends were telling him it was going to be a wild party.
This type of theory can lead us to believe that we can predict all outcomes and leaves nothing up to chance.
Illusory Correlation Theory
We can make bad decisions based on two events that we string together in our mind that may have no correlation at all. For example, you had the experience of having one rude male waiter. You string the experience with male waiters and now you deliberately go to restaurants where there are only females serving.
I know I am guilty of doing this. I tried a food from my husband’s country once and I hated it. I would never eat it again. Finally we went to his country and he got me to try it cooked by somebody else and I loved it. What I thought was that the food wasn’t to my liking when it actually turned out to be the way it was prepared here in Montreal at the time.