Heuristics: Mental Saviors

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There is no doubt in my mind that I will remember many of the lessons I have learned in psychology this semester throughout the rest of my life. However, the section on thinking and reasoning, specifically the use of heuristics, was especially interesting in my opinion.

It never occurred to me how much thinking I do every single day. Most people do not factor in all of the little things that you have to remember to do every day such as knowing what time it is, trying to avoid obstacles in your way, and planning on what you are going to put on all while making sure that you are out the door on time. Thank goodness for these mental shortcuts our brain has otherwise according to the textbook, we would be psychologically paralyzed.

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Not only are heuristics useful for the sake of our thinking process, we also use them to draw inferences about what was going on. I never would have thought that my brain was using a shortcut to come to the conclusion that my parents were home when I saw their keys on the table or when I decided not to drink the funky smelling milk in the refrigerator. If my brain did not use heuristics I could find myself in some not so pleasant situations.

All in all, I am grateful and amazed for the way that the brain thinks. It is an amazing thing that will continue to puzzle me and astound me throughout my entire life.


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It is really crazy how how our minds piece everything around us together. We take simple things for granted all the time. Like your m ilk example. The fact we instinctively know something is strange is astounding.

In certain situations, heuristics are great and can save a lot of time. However, we also have to be careful not to let them fool us. I think it was very useful to learn about them in psychology so we could avoid the harmful ones.

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This page contains a single entry by snugg012 published on April 28, 2012 1:18 PM.

Bystander no more! was the previous entry in this blog.

Will you be a Victim of the Bystander Effect? is the next entry in this blog.

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