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Heuristics and Biases. Sunk Costs. Resources expended in the past are sunk costs. Imagine you go to a play and the first act is terrible. You paid $40 each for a pair of tickets and waited on line for 2 hours to get them. Do you leave at intermission?.

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sunk costs
Sunk Costs
  • Resources expended in the past are sunk costs

Imagine you go to a play and the first act is terrible. You paid $40 each for a pair of tickets and waited on line for 2 hours to get them. Do you leave at intermission?

Imagine you go to a play and the first act is terrible. Your mother gave you the tickets after discovering that she and your father couldn’t make it to the show that night. Do you leave at intermission?

availability
Availability
  • Are there more words that start with t or more words that start with k?
  • Are there more words that end with -ing or more words that end with -_n_?
  • Most people pick the first answer in each case
    • More words starting with t come to mind than words starting with k.
    • More words ending in -ing come to mind than ending in -_n_.
      • The latter is the superset of the former, though.
representativeness
Representativeness
  • People use similarity of an item to a class as the basis of judgment likelihood.

Linda is 28 years old. She is active in a number of women’s rights groups. She volunteers in a shelter for battered women, and often participates in marches for abortion rights.

What is the probability that Linda is a bank teller?

What is the probability that Linda is a bank teller who is also a feminist?

People often suggest the second probability is higher than the first.

The second probability cannot be higher than the first.

gambler s fallacy
Gambler’s Fallacy
  • Representativeness may lead to other errors.
  • Which sequence of coin flips seems more random?
    • HTTHTHTH
    • HHHHHHHH
  • Both sequences are equally likely.
  • Casinos and Roulette
    • Casinos often post the last 20 numbers that occurred.
    • People try to use this information to make their bets
      • They might expect that a number is “due” to come up.
    • There are no patterns in roulette, however.
anchoring and adjustment
Anchoring and adjustment
  • How do people make numerical predictions?
    • They typically start by anchoring on some salient number and then adjusting that number.

Imagine that you are a reporter for a sports magazine and you have to make a prediction for a player’s batting average in his 10th season.

Here are his first 9 seasons averages.

.288 .276 .274 .281 .263 .272 .261 .260 .255

are heuristics good
Are Heuristics Good?
  • Why do people use heuristics?
    • The world is a complicated place
    • People do not have unlimited information
  • The strategies people use are pretty good in real situations
    • Gigerenzer and colleagues
choice strategies
Choice Strategies
  • How do people make choices?
    • Satisficing
    • Elimination-by-aspects
    • Lexicographic Semiorder
    • More extensive evaluations
      • Use of expert knowledge
  • Effort-accuracy framework
    • Payne, Bettman, and Johnson