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Availability Bias and why we should worry more about Coca-Cola than Al-Queda

Our mind wants to hide the fact that it is essentially super lazy, let's discover its best tools to make us fall for it.

Reading time: 2 minutes

Our brain's main function is to quickly analyze a situation and determine if there is any danger or suspicious element. To do so in a quick way it needs to be able to evaluate and take decisions without the full spectrum of information.

The brain shortcuts are called "biases or heuristics". Today's one is very common and it will make you think "Oh no, I do that too".

The availability bias is the human tendency to think that examples of things that come readily to mind are more representative than is actually the case. Thanks to this bias we avoid long and painful fact-checking and analysis but increases the likelihood that our decisions will be flawed and incorrect.

Naturally, the most memorable or recent information that we are storing in our brain will be brought to the surface much quicker. Remember that we tend to remember things that we observed ourselves more easily than things that we only heard about.

A few examples?

Vivid events like plane crashes and shark attacks lead us to overestimate the likelihood of that situation to happen. But guess what? More people die because of horses than sharks.

In the same way, we are constantly fearing terrorism, but if we looked at the real data, sugar and all the illnesses related to it kill way more people a year.

The only way to prevent our mind to assume answers that might be mistaken is using statistics. We can't just trust our intuition.

Stay Curious, Mindset Lab. family!

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