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It was always a fascination of mine during high school that such a vast portion of society can completely disagree with other vast portions of society. Essentially, I was trying to harmonize the idea that people are at the same time rational, yet hold false conclusions. How does that make sense? In many cases, the answer is that the primary causal nexus includes systemic biases that apply species wide.
Availability Heuristic is one of the most commonly referenced heuristics in the book. It's the proper name for the concept that while the universe is infinite, our minds are finite. We will always be missing some information about nearly every subject, which taints our conclusions.
In the author's words - What You See Is All There Is.
Which is also exactly as I suspected ...
Ho Hum ... I'll leave you fine scholars to bend your minds on this one. I've closed the book on it, in more ways than one - ha ha!
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Yes, your sentiment makes sense. Denise Cummings, above, made much the same point.M_K_Saxton wrote:It bothers me that heuristics are cast as biased or bad. Can you imagine if we didn't use heuristics? We'd stand around all day trying to make a decision. What I like about this concept is learning about and then recognizing these heuristics. You can change your mind when you look objectively at why you made a choice. Or, you might decide that's an oaky choice anyway,
Kahneman (and Tversky) had a complex relationship with the real world. Much of the attention received by their work was because they successfully challenged the prevailing methodology in economics by showing that people do not, in fact, generally behave as fully-informed rational agents. In fact there are systematic biases to people's sub-rational behavior, and in this book Kahneman made a good case that those are generally due to the effect of heuristics.
Interestingly, their research also showed that people quickly adapt to incentives and give up heuristic biases if substantial amounts of money are involved. That is, "professionals" in a market don't fall for the heuristic errors over and over on any substantial scale. So in fact, standard economics provides a good model of behavior in markets dominated by professionals.
Where their "behavioral economics" needs to be better applied is in providing safeguards so that professionals don't have an incentive to systematically rip off the casual participants in the market, like consumers of medical care or housing.