Heuristic & Self-Criticism

. Definition of heuristic = simple procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions, ie people make judgements on probabilities without knowing precisely what probability means, ie people want to simplify the difficult tasks

. It is linked with substitution, ie substituting one question for another in order to solve difficult problems, ie

"...If you can't solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can solve: find it..."

George Polya as quoted by Daniel Kahneman 2012

. This is linked with our imprecise control over targeting our responses to questions, eg

"...There is a heuristic alternative to careful reasoning, which sometimes works fairly well and sometimes leads to serious errors..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

Target question

Heuristic question

1. How much would you contribute to save an endangered species?

1. How much emotion do I feel when I think about dying dolphins?

2. How happy are you in your life these days?

2. What is my mood right now?

3. How popular will the president be 6 months from now?

3. How popular is the president right now?

4. How should financial advisers who prey on the elderly be punished?

4. How much anger do I feel when I think of financial predators?

5. This woman is running for the primary. How far will she go in politics?

5. Does this woman look like a political winner?

6. What do I think about it?

6. How do I feel about it?

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. The right-hand questions are easier to answer than the left hand ones, ie your feelings about dolphins, financial criminals, your current mood, etc than the left-hand questions about endangered species, happiness, etc

. Intensity matching, ie how strong are your views on a particular issue?

3-D heuristic illusion

. 3-D heuristic involves the substitution of 3-dimensional for 2-dimensional size and being influenced by the question that was not asked. This means an answer requires a fair amount of thinking. People's likes and dislikes determine their beliefs and this can interfere, ie your political preferences determine which arguments you find compelling; if you like something, you will see more benefits than risk; if you dislike something, you will see more risks and fewer benefits.


. It requires thinking as it is processing information that can be challenging to existing beliefs


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