The Availability Heuristic

In this video I provide an introduction to behavioral economics and the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman by describing a heuristic we use when attempting to assess the frequency of events. The availability heuristic is a shortcut that estimates frequency based on how available an event is to us, or how readily we can bring examples to mind. …

Obstacles to Problem Solving

In this video I introduce several potential obstacles to problem-solving including overconfidence, illusory superiority, belief bias, and belief perseverance. Then I describe a “consider the opposite” strategy for potentially reducing the influence of bias when interpreting evidence that supports or contradicts our pre-existing beliefs. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to see future videos! Have questions or topics you’d …

Problem Solving

In this video I introduce several concepts related to problem-solving. I begin with mental set, which refers to our tendency to rely on approaches that have worked in the past. Similarly, functional fixedness refers to our tendency to think of tools as having single fixed uses and this may cause us to overlook novel uses for them. Convergent thinking refers …

Category Recognition

In this video I consider how language can help us to organize thought and create more precise concepts and categories. This raises the question of how we recognize new stimuli as being part of a particular category. Protoype theory suggests that we mentally compare new stimuli to a prototype or most-typical example for a particular category. Exemplar theory suggests that …

How Does Language Influence Thought?

In this video I consider the relationship between language and thought. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, or linguistic relativity hypothesis, suggests that one’s language influences one’s perception of the world. While evidence is mixed on just how language influences thought, there are other ways of examining the complex relationship between language, thought, and culture. It’s possible to consider how language influences thought …

Abstract Learning & Insight Learning

In this video I describe abstract learning and insight learning as types of learning that both require internal cognitive processing. Abstract learning demonstrates how mental concepts and categories relate to stimulus generalization while insight learning demonstrates the use of mental representations of the world rather than simple trial-and-error behavior learning and reinforcement. These types of learning, in addition to latent …

What is the Availability Heuristic?

In their first study of the availability heuristic, Tversky and Kahneman asked participants to estimate whether English had more words that started with the letter K or more words that had K as the third letter. What do you think? If you’re like most participants in their study, you might guess that there are more words that start with k …