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Heuristic Processing

Definition

Heuristic processing refers to a mode of thinking that is based on simple decision rules, or if-then associations, that people use to judge the quality or nature of an object. For example, in deciding whether to vote for a particular candidate, a person might rely on the opinion of an expert (using the heuristic “if expert, then agree”), or on the prevailing view of friends and family (“if there's a consensus, then assume correctness”). Heuristic processing is most likely to influence people's attitudes when their motivation to think about something is low (e.g., when they do not care very much about the outcome of an election) and when their ability to think carefully is constrained (e.g., when they are stressed out or pressed for time). ...

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