Personal Development, Posts, Understand Yourself

Outsmart the Availability Heuristic

Salient events are easier to remember, so we give them more importance in our decisions. Psychologists call this simple fact “the Availability heuristic”, which is a cognitive bias.

Cognitive Bias?

Remember that cognitive biases are mental shortcuts that help us survive in a dangerous world, but they fool us in a complicated one. When you see a lion in the Serengeti, you need to run without thinking. But when you decide to buy a car, it would be better to avoid running to buy the one you see frequently in the ads and think thoroughly before making the decision.

Examples of the Availability Heuristic

Salient memories from one’s experience will impact its future decision, when searching for a job, a neighborhood, a partner, a vacation destination, etc. We focus on that specific event and forget about the rest. We make a poor decision, and we often regret it.

Plane crashes are so rare that everyone knows about them when they happen. Yet they seem to horrify people much more than car accidents, which cause many more victims… Sharks, Tsunamis, Terrorist attacks, etc. These are a salient cause of death, but they have, by far, the least number of victims compared to car accidents or medical errors.

AvailabilityHeuristic.png

The media are an enormous « availability bias » machine. Journalists and reporters are both victims and contributors to this social phenomenon. A journalist that reports “a plane departing from Berlin had landed safely in CDG airport this afternoon” will most probably lose his job. Continue reading “Outsmart the Availability Heuristic”

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COVID19 – We Learned it The Hard Way

Book Review, Posts

Factfulness – Hans Rosling

  • FactfulnessTitleFactfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.
  • Authors: Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Recommendation Score: 5/5

Book Review

Factfulness is about how to get the world right. In a fast-changing world, our brains are bombarded with a large amount of information all the time. This book gives insights about how to deal with data and build a fact-based view of global events and issues. It provides some mental tools for individuals, organizations, and governments to make better decisions. Factfulness is full of eye-opening facts and is very pleasant to read.

Hans Rosling, the main author, argues that young people today see the world and think about it, as it was several decades ago (when their professors were young), and that older people have not updated their information since then. We would like to think about the world in a static way, whereas it is changing continuously and at a faster pace. He proves this by a series of tests (multiple answer questions) like the following one taken from the book:

QCM_Factfullness

and gives you the right answer, with the percentage of people who answered correctly in several countries as follows.

Continue reading “Factfulness – Hans Rosling”