Heuristics: The good, the bad, and the biased. What value can bias have for decision makers?

Curley, Lee J.; Murray, J. and MacLean, R. (2016). Heuristics: The good, the bad, and the biased. What value can bias have for decision makers? Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group Quarterly(100) pp. 41–44.

URL: http://www.psypag.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09...

Abstract

This discussion paper will look at heuristics (rule of thumb techniques for decision making), (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974) and their potential value. Typically, heuristics have been viewed negatively (Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996), with research suggesting that heuristics bias how individuals think, which may create sub-optimal performance (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). However, researchers, such as Gigerenzer and Goldstein (1996), have highlighted that a bias in decision making may not necessarily be a negative feature of heuristics. This paper will look at two main areas of research in an attempt to show whether the biases that heuristics cause are always detrimental. The first area of research that will be focussed upon is the heuristics and biases programme (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). This approach to researching decision making proposes that heuristics are quick and cause biases that have a negative impact on decision making processes. The second area of research is the fast and frugal approach (Gigerenzer & Goldstein, 1996). The fast and frugal approach has shown that individuals can make accurate and quick decisions using a small amount of information. The article aims to create some debate over the usefulness of heuristics and the potential value that biases may have.

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