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Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Questioning the nature of research


A child is frightened of the dark, not through a prudent oval office decision, but because of an affect implemented and probably innate heuristic. Ask the child why and the answer is honest but incomplete. Sometimes we are aware of our heuristics - I deliberately buy the same detergent because it works well enough for sure and checking out the others is a pain - but we are not always aware. How often do you use familiarity as a decision rule; it reduces cognitive load? Now you think about it, you use it more often than you thought! A good read is “The Irrational Economist” eds Michel-Kerjan and Slovic. And yes, experiments can determine the prevalence and structure of heuristics. Don’t be surprised if they turn out to be sensible, if not utility maximising.

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