I was going through my normal routine of websites and while going through some old Penny Arcade comics, I came across this:
I wanted to be sure on the definition of “heuristic,” so I Googled it and came up with:
“Any approach to problem-solving or learning”
I went to the Images tab and saw that a Dilbert comic had used the word as well:
I didn’t understand this use of the word, so I did some more research and came up with:
– not a guaranteed, optimal, logical method, but instead only “sufficient for reaching an immediate goal” (“goal” being a decision or judgment)
– it is a method that allows us not to be confused or spend a lot of thinking power
– examples of heuristics include solving a problem by ‘working backwards’, or drawing a picture, using intuition, common sense or an educated guess
Wikipedia had some definitions of some interesting examples of psychological heuristics:
Anchoring and Adjustment – the human tendency to rely more heavily on the 1st piece of information offered (considered the ‘anchor’) when making decisions.
Availability – a mental shortcut that affects judgements of the probability of events by how easy it is to come up with examples
Escalation of Commitment – when an individual/group continues the same (possibly destructive) behavior rather than trying something new due to how much time/resources they’ve sunk into a decision
Naive Diversification – when people have to make a simultaneous choice (now) versus a sequential choice (today, tomorrow, and the next day), the person will tend to seek more diversification
I really liked the example they used for Naive Diversification:
“Choose now which of the 6 snacks to consume in the next 3 weeks”
“Choose once a week which of the 6 snacks to consume that week for 3 weeks”
In the first example, I would pick 6 different snacks, b/c I’m not sure if I would get sick of a certain snack in 3 weeks. In the second example, I would pick more of my favorites (2/2/2) first and then pick something different in the next two weeks.
So going back to the Dilbert comic, what is supposed to be funny is that one coworker is tasked with relaying information from the meeting to the others, but because the manager is not teaching anything of value, he is sleeping and they play it off as a method of learning/relaying info.