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availability heuristic

n. a common strategy for making judgments about likelihood of occurrence in which the individual bases such judgments on the salience of the information held in his or her memory about the particular type of event: The more available and relevant information there is, the more likely the event is judged to be. Use of this strategy may lead to errors of judgment when information that is highly available in memory (e.g., about well-publicized events, such as plane crashes) leads people to believe that those kinds of events are more probable than they actually are, or when the relative unavailability of information (e.g., about less well-publicized causes of death, as from diabetes) leads people to believe that those kinds of events are less probable than they are. The tendency to make such errors is known as the availability bias. Compare representativeness heuristic. [described in 1973 by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman]

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Psychology term of the day

February 26th 2024



n. red–green color blindness in which the deficiency is due to absence of the cone photopigment sensitive to green light, resulting in loss of green sensitivity and confusion between red and green (see dichromatism). The condition may be unilateral (i.e., color vision may be normal in one eye). See also protanopia.