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Bias and Heuristics - Essay Example

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Bias and heuristics may seem as immaterial and significant but they may have great effects on the decisions or choices a person makes. The decision-maker may not be aware of it, but certain biases or heuristics may already be influencing the way he looks at the situation at hand…
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Bias and Heuristics
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Bias and Heuristics

Download file to see previous pages... In the scenario presented, the supervisor clearly demonstrates bias when he uttered his statements regarding the Volvo and its unreliability. To be more specific, the supervisor's heuristic or bias was the availability bias or error.
According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, the availability bias is described as, "The distortion of one's perceptions of reality due to the tendency to remember one alternative outcome of a situation much more easily than another." (2006) Furthermore, one's judgment about the relative frequency of an event often depends upon the availability or accessibility of objects or events in the processes of perception, memory or construction in the imagination
In the case of the supervisor, he only recalled the bad experience of his brother-in-law. He failed to take into account the experiences of the larger group of people who may have had experiences different from that of his brother-in-law.
The reaction of the supervisor also demonstrates another bias. In particular, this is the base rate neglect bias. The base rate neglect, otherwise known as the base rate fallacy, explains how humans, in making inferences about probability, often tend to ignore the background frequencies. (Garns, 1997)
In the case of the supervisor, this was clearly demonstrated because he failed to take into consideration the various reviews that were presented to him. He instead focused on one occurrence of the failure of a Volvo car. By doing so, the supervisor neglected the numerous data that supports the good performance of Volvo cars. He was influenced by the base rate neglect which led him to react in the way that he did.
With further research suggesting that the initial recommendations regarding the superiority and reliability of the Volvo, one will one be led to deciding that the Volvo should be the car to buy. In making decisions, it is imperative that biases or heuristics are avoided as much as possible. Decision-makers must at all times remain as objective and logical as possible.
Biases and heuristics affect the way people view situations and choices. In certain cases, heuristics simplify the decision-making process by making the situation appear simpler. However, there are cases when heuristics, when viewed in the wrong way, may lead erroneous judgments or decisions.
With additional information supporting the earlier claim that the Volvo is the better choice, the main heuristic that one must employ is the representativeness heuristic. According to Garns, "An event is judged to be probable to the extent that it represents the essential features of the parent population or of its generating process." In other words, what this means is that a certain sample of the population has the essential features in order for it to be judged as representative of the entire population. In this case, the information gathered through further research may be used to judge the entire population of Volvo cars. Using such a sample as basis for judgment, one can conclude that Volvo cars are indeed reliable and mechanically superior over other brands.
Knowing that the supervisor is insensitive to the base rate and judges based on available information, one possible course of action that maybe taken in order to convince him to agree to the purchase of Volvo cars is to present him with all substantial information. It is essential that the available information that the supervis ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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