Do we really need to opt for Heuristics?
As I was on the verge of completion of the first module of a course called Career decisions: From insights to Impact-I came across a technique known as heuristics. Succinctly described this concept by none other than Professor Sharon Belden Castonguay.
It made me realize certain situations where I resorted to answering questions in haste. Sometimes we don't think twice before answering questions irrespective of what the correct answer would be. Instead of ticking the correct answer, we try to make sense of the one we selected though we know that we are unaware of that question.
A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems and make judgments quickly and efficiently- described by Kendra Cherry, a psychology expert.
These rule-of-thumb strategies shorten decision-making time and allow people to function without constantly stopping to think about their next course of action. Heuristics are helpful in many situations, but they can also lead to cognitive biases. Again as explained by Kelly Cherry.
Once proven right, we tend to repeat the use of this technique again and again. Why can't we allow our mind to understand the situation well and then take corrective action? As far as studying is concerned, then our procrastinated self would resort to this technique.
We tend to develop a stereotypical image of a writer, lawyer, doctor, etc. by imagining them with ceratin looks. A bespectacled person with indelible blots of ink on the shirt needs to be an author. A person with disheveled hair should be a scientist, whereas a person with a stout built needs to be an accountant. How wrong we were to describe them according to the said stories about them.
Certain riddles need to be solved logically rather than guessing with a thumb-rule. We don't realize the significance of logic and reason unless we see ourselves into fruition. Short cuts never made anyone wise neither the irrational thinking. I am not biased with those who use this technique of heuristics, but intellectual sages have proved themselves otherwise.
It reduces the mental effort required to make choices and decisions. So depended we are on this technique that we forget to give much attention to logic and rational understanding.
Other theories suggest people substitute simpler but related questions in place of more complex and difficult questions. Again rightly stated by Kelly Cherry.
Even interviewers use this technique for evaluating job applicants. So much so that they don't pay attention to what that applicant can offer on the table.
A good example would be the protagonist of a renowned American series- The Good Wife. Here, Alicia Florrick struggles with her marriage after her husband's sex scandal. She decides to become financially independent by applying for the job of an associate in a law firm. She took a sabbatical of thirteen years after becoming a lawyer and devoting herself to her marriage and children. Many of the law firms rejected her though she is joining this field after a decade or due to her surname. She is the wife of state attorney of Illinois. She gets hired by her friend who knows her well and how intelligent she was in their law school.
That one opportunity allows her to grow, and after four years, she starts her firm. One day she met one of those law firms head repenting for not hiring her. On which she says, "Your loss".
I have described this topic to the best of my ability and invite my friends for their comments.
- penned by Tausif Mundrawala (10th July'19)