Describe how the familiarity heuristic (familiar items are seen as superior to those that are unfamiliar) in conjunction with mental set can contribute to errors in perception when it comes to solving social conflicts. Do you feel there is a way to reduce or prevent these errors? Explain and give specific examples. Support your reasoning with information from the text and other course materials.

Describe how the familiarity heuristic (familiar items are seen as superior to those that are unfamiliar) in conjunction with mental set can contribute to errors in perception when it comes to solving social conflicts. Do you feel there is a way to reduce or prevent these errors? Explain and give specific examples. Support your reasoning with information from the text and other course materials.

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Baiann Hweidi RE: Discussion 2

Familiarity heuristic is described as, “judging events as more important or frequent because they are more familiar in memory,” (Ashcraft). The familiarity heuristic is based on using past actions as a guide or structure for how we behave in new situations or social settings. We favor familiar things over strange or foreign things. Familiarity is associated with safety and having no risk, versus trying new things, (Feldman). This is essential because it allows us to save time when entering a new situation because we use what knowledge we have in the past of how we used to behave to figure out the correct behavior to use in a social setting we have never been in before. However, sticking with what you know and have always done can create some issues and errors in perception. Some psychologists believe that this type of bias that we have in our life can lead us to choose self-defeating options in our daily life or routine. We as humans are more likely to choose those safe and automatic choices in our head, specifically when we are under pressure, and bad choices can increase our stress, which will lead to a never-ending cycle of making bad decisions, (Ashcraft). For example, a group of scientists at Standford University conducted an experiment. These scientists brought in a group of men and women to solve puzzles. One group was told that they had 4 minutes to complete the puzzle, while the others were told that they had as much time as they needed. Then all of them had to choose between what two puzzles they wanted to complete. One puzzle was short, and the other was long. All of them were told this: the shorter puzzle was created by a complete stranger, while the longer puzzle was created by someone that they knew. You would think that it wouldn’t matter who created the puzzle because the goal is for you to finish the puzzle quickly. Yet, every single person chooses the longer puzzle because it was created by someone that they were familiar with. This type of preference literally made no sense, logically, however being that they were familiar with the person, they choose the longer puzzle. All of the volunteers who participated in the experiment stated that the reason they choose that puzzle was that it seemed like less of a risk and safer, (Herbert). This is a prime example of how familiarity heuristic combined with mental set can cause errors in perception when it comes to solving social conflicts. I don’t know if there is a way to reduce these errors, because I believe that we as humans are innately drawn to safer things. And these safer things are things that we are familiar with.

Ashcraft, M.H. (2006). Cognition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey; Pearson Education Inc. ISBN 013198229X

Feldman, Robert S. (2017). Understanding Psychology 13th edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Herbert, Wray. “The Familiarity Heuristic: How Sticking with What You Know Could Hurt You.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 16 Mar. 2011, www.huffpost.com/entry/familiarity-heuristic_b_833955.

Candy Soto RE: Discussion 2

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