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Social psychology (1)

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman have carried out series 
of experiments to demonstrate that human beings use mental 
short-cuts to make sense of the world under conditions of 
uncertainty. They proved that individuals do not think rationally 
while making judgments. They make systematic errors and biases 
in their inferences. They argued that human beings use heuristics 
because they cannot manage information. This is known as 
information overload. Human cognitive system can process limited 
amount of information at a given point of time. When the 
information is more than it could be processed, we fail to process 
all information. This is called as information overload.
Information Overload is a situation when the information for 
processing is more than the ability of our cognitive system.
We use smart tactics under conditions of information 
overload and manage this information. These tactics are known as 
heuristics. Heuristics are simple rules of thumb or mental shortcuts 
that help us to make complex decisions and drawing inferences in 
speedy and efficient way. They reduces our mental efforts. Tversky 
and Kahneman have demonstrated the use of three heuristics.
Schema is Primed 
Simple questions 
activate correct 
answer schema. 
Group 1 : Initial phase 
Initially gave correct 
answers. (Schema 
expressed in behaviour) 
Group 1 : 2
Gave 49% correct 
answers. Priming had 
less impact. 
Group 2 : No initial Phase 
Schema not expressed in 
Group 2 : Test Phase 
Gave 59% correct 
answers. Priming had 
more impact. 

They are : 
1. Representativeness Heuristics,
2. Availability Heuristics, and
3. Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristics.
Heuristics may help us in making correct judgments. But 
Tversky and Kahneman have viewed them as potential sources of 
errors in our thinking. Kahneman was awarded Nobel Prize in 
Economics in 1992 for this work (Tversky died on 2 June, 1996 and 
Nobel is not given posthumously). Now we will discuss each of 
these heuristics. 
Heuristics are rules of thumb or mental shortcuts that people use to 
make decisions and draw inferences rapidly and with reduced 
efforts when the cognitive system is overloaded with information.

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