The availability bias: events that are available in memory are
judged to be more frequent. It occurs when we’re making these
frequency judges. But we’ll see that that’s not only the case. Just
because something is available in memory doesn’t necessarily mean
its more frequent. And if we say it is, then we are incorrect.
Example 1: (1) Words beginning with “k” or (2) words with “k” as third letter
Q: Which contains more words.
Most ppl would guess that it is (1). Our reasoning is that its easier to
retrieve from memory words beginning with “k”. Words beginning with letter
k are easier to retrieve, and we judge this as more frequent, BUT words with
letter k beginning are actually LESS frequent.
Therefore, Most ppl choose 1 b/c easy to retrieve, but 2 is twice as frequent
Example 2: Some events are easier to imagine (makes them available in
memory, so judged to be more frequent ).
E.g. (1) Being killed by “shark attack: OR (2) Being killed by “falling airplane
Which is more frequent?
Well, more ppl would say (1) cuz its easier to imagine being killed by a
shark. Actually, the chances of being killed by falling airplane part are 30x
greater than by shark.
Example 3: We’re exposed to biased samples of events (which makes them
E.g. smokers overestimate the number of people who smoke (because they
see more smokers). They have a bias sample of people likely to smoke cuz
of lets say the environment theyre in.
NOTE THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN THESE EXAMPLES