Thursday, August 3, 2017


What does heuristics mean?

Heuristics is originally a Greek word that means “to find.” 

What are heuristics?

Heuristics are mental shortcuts that allow people to make judgements and solve problems in a quick and efficient manner. 

Why do we use heuristics?

Heuristics are very important when it come to problem-solving and decision-making. We often turn to heuristics when we need a quick solution. We rely on this mental strategy to simplify the problem or decision that needs to be made so we do not spend a vast amount of time analyzing the details. This being said, heuristics help us make decisions with ease, and avoids a great deal of agonizing. They also allow us to think through solutions and outcomes quickly, so we make the right choice. 

Examples of decisions we make on a daily basis that our heuristics help us with….

  • What am I going to have for breakfast?
  • What should I wear today?
  • What font and type of graph should I use for my powerpoint presentation?
  • Should I ride my bike or drive?
Are there types of heuristics?

Yes, there are several types but two of the most common are: representativeness and availability. 

Representativeness Heuristic: involves making a decision based on comparing the present situation to a mental prototype. 

Example: When you are trying to decide if someone is trustworthy, you might compare them to someone else you know, because they remind you of a certain someone. So one might automatically assume that an older lady they just met is sweet, kind, gentle, loving and trustworthy, because she reminds you of your grandmother. 

Availability Heuristic: involves making a decision based on how likely an occurrence is and how easy, and quickly it is recalled. 

Example: If you need to travel, and were thinking about flying because it is faster and more efficient, but than quickly recall a great amount of terrorist attacks and bombings, you might decide to drive instead. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post Cameron! Heuristics are very important in our every day life decisions. I agree with your statement that it is used for a quick solution. We sometimes do not have time to take in every detail of the situation so we depend on these heuristics to help us in fixing the problem. Your examples are extremely helpful in grasping the full understanding of heuristics and what they are used for!