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    Type of Heuristics

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    Details: Your employer, an electrical fixtures supply company has decided to purchase company cars for all of the sales staff. You have been asked to select the line of automobiles that should be purchased. You have decided that on grounds of economy and longevity that it is in the company's best interesting to purchase Volvo's. As a prudent and sensible buyer, you have done research on the web and have discovered that experts agree the Volvo is the most mechanically superior and safe automobile for your companies needs.

    Prior to meeting with the Volvo sales people you talk the decision over with your Boss who reacts with disbelief and alarm: "A Volvo! You've got to be kidding. My brother-in-law had a Volvo. First, that fancy fuel injection computer thing went out. Had to replace it. Then the transmission and the clutch. Finally sold it in three years for junk."(Adapted from: Nisbett, R.E., et al., "Popular Induction: Information is Not Always Informative", in J.S. Carroll & J.W. Payne (Editors), Cognition and Social Behavior, Halsted, 1976)

    For this assignment your research paper will need to:

    Part 1: Identify and explain the type of heuristics in the reaction of your Boss that resulted in his/her biased reaction.

    Part 2: Based on what your supervisor has stated you do some additional research and discover that your original research is confirmed. But you need to influence your Boss of the merits of purchasing a Volvo. Answer and address the following:

    1. What type(s) of heuristic will you employ to help you influence the Boss's decision? How will that "heuristic" help you sway your supervisor to your viewpoint... and approve your recommendation to purchase Volvo's?
    2, What specific information, about the Volvo, can you provide to your Boss that will directly "influence" his/her decision making? You will need to do research on the Volvo to answer this part of the project.

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    Solution Preview

    Interesting scenario! Let's take a closer look at the scenario, which can help you with your final copy. I also attached an excellent APA resource.


    Part 1: Identify and explain the type of heuristics in the reaction of your Boss that resulted in his/her biased reaction.

    Have you given some thought to this scenario? It is an interesting one. It seems that the boss is using the similarity and availability heuristics, which bias his perceptions of the Volvo.

    Let's take a closer look.

    Heuristics are simple, efficient rules, hard-coded by evolutionary processes or learned, which have been proposed to explain how people make decisions, come to judgments, and solve problems, typically when facing complex problems or incomplete information. These rules work well under most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to systematic cognitive biases. Humans use decision making heuristics, simplifying rules of thumb, which simplify cognitive complexity, speed decision making, reduces burden on working memory, but can also lead to errors -- special circumstances and induces systematic biases (Heuristics). Likewise, the boss did not take the time to consider all available information about the Volvo, but instead anchored (anchoring heuristic) her/his decisions on similar information from past experience (similarity heuristic), that is, his brother-in-law's 'bad' experience with a Volvo.

    Specifically, the availability heuristic is the ease of bringing an example to mind, like the boss immediately bringing to mind his brother-in-law's bad luck with his Volvo. The boss then based his ...

    Solution Summary

    In reference to the scenario, this solution identifies and explains the types of heuristics that impact the bosses reaction that resulted in his/her biased reaction, and also addresses the questions about the merits of purchasing a Volvo.