Fiske and Taylor (1984) referred to individuals as “cognitive misers” because of the mental short-cuts taken in an effort to understand people, their behavior, and social situations. These mental short-cuts or heuristics simplify understanding and save time and mental energy when making decisions. Although use of these heuristics may in fact save mental energy and help a person make a quick decision, they are not always helpful and can sometimes be inaccurate. For example, making educated guesses, using common sense, and using intuitive judgment are examples of heuristics. There are many types of heuristics, such as the representativeness heuristic, the availability heuristic, the false consensus effect, and the anchoring heuristic.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources and consider when you have used heuristics and under what circumstances you used them, and explain the outcome of using the heuristics.

Post by Day 4 a brief explanation of two of the four heuristics (representativeness, availability, false consensus effect, and anchoring heuristic). Then describe one example from work, home, or a social setting of when you found heuristic use to be helpful and one example of when it was not helpful, and explain why. Finally, explain how you might avoid nonhelpful heuristic use, and apply it to the example you previously provided.

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