availability heuristics

This is a 15 minute video explaining representative and availability heuristics. The reason why I am posting it is because the woman gives a really interesting example of availability heuristics. Basically there was a study done which asked participants to answer 3 questions of what people die from most, the first one and most shocking (to me) was:

Lung cancer or car accident?

of course in my head I went ahead and answered car accident..

Well the results showed 57% of people answered the same as me; although the truth is that 140,000 people died of lung cancer in a year while 46,000 people died in a car accident!

And the reports made per year were 3:127; only 3 reports made of a person dying of lung cancer!

The other was Tuberculosis or fire?

77% answered fire and the reports made that year were 0:24. (more fire deaths did occur)

This was a perfect example of how the availability heuristic works, and the amount of information that is provided is the information that will be used.


2 thoughts on “availability heuristics

  1. Totally agree; I would want to die from a car accident over dying from lung cancer. Hopefully the accident would be fast. Lung cancer typically lingers for a while and you have to constantly think about your impending death. I have had a family member faced with lung cancer and it was very hard to watch. Luckily they are in remission for now.


  2. Seriously people. STOP SMOKING. I smoked for 10 years and quitting was by farrrrrrr the best life decision Ive made. Probably added about 25-30 years to my lifespan. The science behind smoking shows it KILLS YOU. Put the cigarette down!! If you must smoke something, try that one random plant everyone keeps talking about. At least its more natural.


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