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representativeness heuristic

a strategy for making categorical judgments about a given person or target based on how closely the exemplar matches the typical or average member of the category. For example, given a choice of the two categories poet and accountant, people are likely to assign a person in unconventional clothes reading a poetry book to the former category; however, the much greater frequency of accountants in the population means that such a person is more likely to be an accountant. The representativeness heuristic is thus a form of the base-rate fallacy. Compare availability heuristic.

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Psychology term of the day

June 16th 2024

test-tube baby

test-tube baby

a colloquial term for a baby born after in vitro fertilization.