Week 9 Intelligence Heuristics and Bias

Week 9 Intelligence Heuristics and Bias

PSY-101: Principles of Psychology

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Thinking and Intelligence

COGNITION In other words, thinking

We organize our thinking by:

Building Concepts ● Mental groupings of similar objects, events, or people ● Allow us to organize complex things into simpler categories

Developing Prototypes ● Best example or representation of a concept ● E.g., Eagle may be my prototypical bird, not Ostrich

HOW DO WE SOLVE PROBLEMS? Three main approaches that use our concepts and prototypes:

● Trial and Error ○ Try different solutions until the is solved

● Algorithms ○ Applicable to formula/equation-type problems ○ If used the right way, guarantees correct solution ○ Time consuming but accurate

● Heuristics ○ General strategy that has been used in a similar situation ○ Saves time and energy, but can be entirely inaccurate


● You make a decision by focusing on a certain piece of information (an “anchor”) ● Keeps you from recognizing the importance and value of other information

Availability Heuristic ● You judge the probability of an event based upon how “available” memories of that

event are in your long-term memory ● Keeps you from recognizing actual statistical probabilities

Representativeness Heuristic ● You judge people, places, and behaviors based upon your existing

“representations” of those things in your concepts (this is STEREOTYPING!) ● Keeps you from recognizing that people, places, and behaviors are all unique and

may not fit some stereotype that you have

USEFUL HEURISTICS ● Work backwards

○ Focus on the end result first, and “work backward” from there ○ Can give us a new perspective on the solution

● Create subgoals ○ Break problem into a set of smaller steps ○ Large problems become more manageable as you work

through the smaller steps


● Tendency to think of an object only in terms of its typical use ● Lack creativity

Mental Sets ● Tendency for old patterns of to persist, even in the

face of repeated failure

Confirmation Bias ● Tendency to focus on, and search out, information that “confirms”

your existing beliefs ● Ignore information that contradicts your existing beliefs

INTELLIGENCE Capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges

Two contemporary theories of intelligence:

● Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences ○ Breaks intelligence into (at least) eight different intelligences

● Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence ○ Breaks intelligence into three parts that relate to one’s success in

life, not just school




CREATIVITY Ability to generate or discover new ideas, , and possibilities

● A part of Sternberg’s theory of intelligence!

Divergent Thinking ● Process of arriving at multiple unique solutions to a

given problem ● Thinking “outside the box”

MEASURING INTELLIGENCE ● Traditionally done through an IQ (Intelligence Quotient) Test

○ Assumes intelligence is a singular factor though most contemporary psychologists agree that intelligence is multidimensional

○ Hyperfocus on Gardner’s logical-reasoning and linguistic intelligences and Sternberg’s analytical Intelligence

○ Culturally biased and discriminates against minority-group members whose experiences differ from the white majority

○ Still widely used in educational and clinical settings to identify those who may benefit from extra attention/help

THE SOURCE OF INTELLIGENCE As with pretty much EVERYTHING… it’s a result of a complex interaction between our Nature and Nurture

● We inherit a predisposition for a certain “level” of intelligence from our biological parents ○ NATURE

● This predisposition is either facilitated or inhibited as a result of our environmental experiences ○ NURTURE

Week 9 Intelligence Heuristics and Bias

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