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Heuristics in Political Decision Making

In the early 1970s, heuristics were first noted by Amos Tversky and 2002 Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman. They defined a heuristic as a knowledgebased way to a judgment that does not follow rational principles but instead the dictum of efficiency.

As does other research on human information processing, research on heuristics, too, focuses on the individual's need to cope with complexity by simplifying it. Heuristics—often labeled “shortcuts” or “rules of thumb”—normally lead the individual quickly to adequate judgments, although no extensive algorithmic processing is applied. But since the main characteristic of heuristics is to extrapolate from knowledge stored in human memory, such rules of thumb can also be responsible for erroneous inferences.

In their first articles, Tversky and Kahneman described a few judgmental heuristics, two of ...

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