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Social Psychology - Heuristics

Heuristics
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What is the difference between "automatic" (System 1) thinking and "controlled" (System 2) thinking?
System 1 is an autopilot system in which we do things easier and through repetition. It filters out things in the environment that are irrelevant to you at that moment; it has high efficiency. It is based on the idea that neurons that fire together, wire together. It primes an idea so that one idea is more easily activated (wakening of associations). System 2 corrects and adjusts the perceptual blindness associated with system 1. It allows flexibility, giving nuance and precision more importance. Basically, system 1 is more associative and intuitive while system 2 is analytical and deliberative. We (our selves) are not unitary constructs. Rather, there are two cognitive processes that are in competition with each other. What do cows drink? System 1 would say "milk", but system 2 would say "water." Joan's father has five daughters: Lala, Lele, Lili, Lolo, and...Joan, not Lulu. In one study, people who unscrambled sentences with words related to senior citizens walked more slowly. The operations of System 1 are fast, effortless, associative, and difficult to control or modify. The operations of System 2 are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled; they are also relatively flexible and potentially rule-governed. Processes comprising operations of System 1 (including heuristics) are similar to the features of sensory perception. They make and have a bias towards making thinking cheap. The automatic system deals with information overload.
What are the key defining features of either process (system 1 and system 2)?
System 1: Associative, intuitive, Low intention, Low effort, Low control, Low awareness, Efficient.
System 2: Analytical, deliberative, High intention, High effort, High control, High awareness, Inefficient
script
Scripts organize schemata into an order. Go to a restaurant on a date, and we know what to do in a restaurant so we get the order and save time. This applies moreso to activities than persons and things. Scripts are types of schemata that have a routine set of events that proceed in a pattern. Scripts are knowledge structures that contain information about how people (or other objects) behave under varying circumstances). They can be learned by direct experience or by observing others.
schema
Schemata are like stereotypes that we have. Once we put something into a certain category, we use it to process in a more efficient way. They are static representations and associations (schemata of doctors, lawyers, professors, etc.). Schemas are knowledge structures that represent substantial information about a concept, its attributes, and its relationships to other concepts. When life conforms to what they expect, they don't generally find it necessary to think much about it.
What is a heuristic?
shortcuts that operate implicitly: mental shortcuts that provide quick estimates about the likelihood of uncertain events
availability heuristic
This is the tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind. The ease with which relevant instances come to mind is influenced not only by the actual frequency but also by factors such as how salient or noticeable the event is, how recent the event is, and whether attention was paid to the event. The easier it is for you to think of something, the easier it is for you to believe it. This is why people fear dying in an airplane versus in a car. Why would people think of fearing a terrorist attack versus a traffic accident in the middle east? This is because it's easier to call into mind such information that would affect a person's belief. Breast cancer risk also increases with age, but people in their thirties and forties are more likely to be profiled versus people in their eighties so most people think that breast cancer risk is worst at the younger ages. Another example involves shark attack injuries versus illnesses as a result of food poisoning, choking, or an allergy from eating a noodle bowl.
anchoring and adjustment heuristic
This is the tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by using a starting point called an anchor and then making adjustments up or down. This is seen in the example in which we fold a piece of paper a few times. Thus, when we imagine folding it 100 times, we adjust but anchor onto the experience we had with the paper we folded in person. In reality, we maladjust and have the incorrect answer.
representativeness heuristic
This is the tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the extent to which it resembles the typical case. Heavy reliance on this leads people to ignore other factors that heavily influence the actual frequencies and likelihoods, such as rules of chance, independence, and base rate information (base rate fallacy--the tendency to ignore or underuse base rate information (information about most people) and instead to be influenced by the distinctive features of the case being judged). This is based on what you consider within a group. For example, Janet is more likely to be a bank teller than a feminist bank teller, but because we associate Janet with feminism, we think Janet would be a feminist bank teller. In reality, a feminist bank teller is a subset of bank tellers so it'd actually be more reasonable to assume that Janet is a bank teller instead of a feminist bank teller.
simulation heuristic
This is the tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the ease with which you can imagine (or mentally simulate) an event. You mispredict the possibility of this happening because of the ease with which we can imagine it. It differs from the availability heuristic because of how previous experience is involved. Imagine if we're late by five minutes versus being late by one hour. We would be more upset at being five minutes late for our plane ride. We can simulate it more easily regardless of whether or not it was imagined (if only the plane waited a little longer or if only the traffic jam had cleared a few minutes earlier). Simulation heuristics are studied primarily based on what we foresee in the future. Would our level of subjective well-being after winning the lottery be similar to one who was crippled? In actuality, lottery winners levels of happiness are similar to controls--hedonic adaptation. The cripples are also somewhat similar. The simulation heuristic is known for how we mispredict the future. It addresses "if only" thoughts.
peak-and-end heuristic
This is evident in the colonoscopy experiment. B has more pain from the chart, but patient A reports a more sufferable experience! Thus, this shows that how you rate the badness of a state, through the change. The average of peak intensity plus the end of the experience explains how we feel. Duration does not seem to matter. Thus, we should end things in a positive light. Make sure the final night of vacation is good. The peak-and-end heuristic is known for how we misremember the past.
What is the relationship between availability and the media exposure effect?
People will base opinions on the degree of coverage in media so the media exposure effect indicates that the availability heuristic will make it so that people think that what's in the media is more likely in reality. Basically, media interest + availability heuristic = media exposure effect. It creates fear for less dangerous events and the lack of fear for more dangerous events. Media exposure effect explains fear of the possibility of crime (out of proportion to actual occurrence), fear for the wrong types of crime (death rate for car crashes during drunk driving > murders and muggings), and people's misperception of crime (varies more with their self-perceived media-manufactured victim type than their actual victim type). Older people have a fear of being victimized when younger people are more likely to be victimized (teens have a more accurate perception of risk). We only think of sharks as dangerous due to the media. We only associate the Middle East with terrorism because of the media as well. We also think that there are more Jewish people in the United States because of their prominence in history, the media, etc..
What is the relationships between representativeness and conjunction fallacy?
Conjunction fallacy is the tendency to see an event as more likely as it becomes more specific because it is joined with elements that seem similar to events that are likely. The representativeness heuristic provides one possible explanation for the conjunction fallacy because the likelihood of an event being true actually declines when it becomes more specific because additional elements must also be true in order for the overall event to be true.
Why do people systematically mis-estimate how happy or miserable they will be once their circumstances change in some significant way (i.e. why are people bad at affective forecasting)?
People are bad at predicting things because we have a psychological immune system--an ability to adjust. The things that we adopt to are both good and bad. We adopt to marriage, but they are always above the midpoint. We have an ability to reprocess things, but we are ignorant of how resilient we are. We have a naive theory of our own resilience. We are unable to recognize states, but we can recognize changes. We can't imagine what it's like to be deaf or paraplegic, but we can imagine the change from being normal to becoming deaf and paraplegic. The transition state is easier to imagine so it is the proxy to the question of how someone would be. The experiencing self exists in the self and induces both joy and misery of life. The remembering self, aka the storyteller, knows that what we remember is already a story. People use their current affective state to judge their happiness. How happy are you on the whole versus how satisfied are you with your dating experience? People use one domain as a proxy to the whole. What you do is ask the whole question first.
Give at least one example of a failure of affective forecasting.
We mistake things that are valuable to things that make us happy. A source of value is not equal to a source of happiness. When ranking how happy people would be based on money, plastic surgery, and children, we usually think of children (mode), but the happiest item is actually plastic surgery. We generally do not say plastic surgery and money because of society's principles.
endowment effect
Cookie example: loss aversion--the fact that you have it makes an anticipated loss worse than an anticipated gain.
attribute substitution
Bridge example. We use our emotional sate more on a risky bridge because of sympathetic nervous system effects. We attribute the feelings to the girl. (But then again, people are more likely to take risks already if they are on a bridge.) Basically, you should do something that is exhilarating for some attractiveness. We are happier on sunny days than on cloudy days. Basically, we use the information about an easy-to-access attribute as a proxy for the information about the hard-to-access attribute. Virtually every heuristic we discussed thus far may be viewed as an example of attribute substitution
false consensus effect
This is the tendency to overestimate the number of people who share their opinions, attitudes, values,, beliefs. One example is carrying a sign around. Of those who agreed, they said that 62% would also carry it while the ones who refused said that 33% would not. Availability heuristics would influence this (because people use information most readily available to them--information from people they associate with--usually similar to themselves). Anchoring and adjustment heuristics would explain it too. They use their own reaction as an anchor and adjust it (as usual, too close to the anchor).
Identify at least one study that illustrate social significance of the affect-as-information heuristic.
misvaluing the present
The Affect Infusion Model (AIM) is a theoretical model in the field of human psychology. Developed by Joseph Forgas in the early 1990s, it attempts to explain how mood affects one's ability to process information. A key assertion of the AIM is that the effects of mood tend to be exacerbated in complex situations that demand substantial cognitive processing. In other words, as situations become more complicated and unanticipated, mood becomes more influential in driving evaluations and responses.
Heuristic processing assumes that affective processing, or emotional processing, occurs outside our awareness, with people simply making sense of their emotional reactions as they happen. Thus, affective experience provides people with information about themselves, including their tendencies and implicit judgments. This process is also known as the "affect-as-information" mechanism.[4]
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