The availability heuristic - Daniel Kahneman
- Any relevance here for us?
Doing a bit of surfing on future trends I came across the consumer research
Group, the Future Foundation based in London who's mission is "to understand
what is really going on in the world, to provide order within the
complexity, to present a clear sense of understanding and direction."
They're running a "State of the Nation Conference" in October including a
session on "Seeing through the economic orthodoxy to the new reality" which
mentions work by Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman - a
pioneer and theorist of behavioural finance integrating economics and
cognitive science to explain seemingly irrational risk management behaviour
in human beings.
K. has researched the idea of the "availability heuristic" - an
oversimplified rule of thumb ... which occurs when people estimate the
probability of an outcome based on how easy that outcome is to imagine. As
such, vividly described, emotionally charged possibilities will be perceived
as being more likely than those that are harder to picture .. for example,
... more money is spent on fighting terrorism than on automobile safety
yet the latter kills many more people per year: Vehicle fatalities don't get
attention because they occur in ones and twos. (We've visited this oddity
frequently but I'm interested to see a concept that seeks to understand it
as other than foolishness)