Heuristics: A Bad or Good Thing?

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As defined in Lilienfeld's Psychology textbook, heuristics are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb. They help us make sense of our world. Essentially, what heuristics do is make things much easier for humans to grasp. With out them, humans would have too much to think about and could not handle all of the information that is obtained in a day. Although very helpful in making sense of what seems to be an easy thought to grasp, heuristics could also make humans oversimplify things. Shown as an example in the textbook, the fact that most people assume that Reno is northeast of San Diego when it is actually northwest of San Diego, is an example of a heuristic that is oversimplifying one's thoughts.9926108-confused-cartoon-guy-scratching-his-head.jpg

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Personally I believe that heuristics is a good thing. Like the book states, heuristics are mental shortcuts that help us make sense of the world. Without this we would complicate everything and I think that this evolutionary survival aspect is beneficial. On the other hand I am not sure if there is an argument here- who would think simplifying the world so that we have a clear way of thinking would be bad?

I agree this is something that is beneficial for humans, but I think what you said was perfect. It can be a bad thing. I think that the worst part about it is that it doesnt push people to challenge ideas, becasue people used to think the world was flat and then challenged it and found out it was round

You make some good points. I too believe that heuristics are beneficial to us because of the fact that they do help us make sense of our world. I also think that we would not be able to handle of the thinking and processing our brains would be dealing with if we did not use heuristics. It seems to me that they make things a lot easier on us.

I believe as well that heuristics are overall beneficial to simplifying complex ideas that otherwise would yield to complex for our understanding. The book does make a good point on heuristics possibly leading to over simplification and I can see where heuristics can lead to it.

I agree that while heuristics usually are helpful, they sometimes can hurt our understanding of situations. But without heuristics, our sense of the world would be much more complicated.

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This page contains a single entry by bartl227 published on January 24, 2012 9:33 PM.

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