Heuristics - Cog Blog by Steve Carcaterro

            Recently in my cognition class, we have been talking about many variables in regards to problem solving, decision-making, and judgments.  What I want to reflect on is judgments and decision-making in our everyday life and how we can improve these skills as well.  Some important things to I’d like to focus on when dealing with these topics are relevant and irrelevant information, factors that affect judgments, and heuristics. 

             Making judgments and decision-making relates in my everyday life because everyday you make judgments and decisions that affect your life.  So if you can learn how to makes the best choices more often then not, then you can improve your quality of life vastly.  The first thing you want to do in life is try to only focus on the relevant information and not to worry about the irrelevant information.  This is obviously common sense but when you are in the heat of the moment you sometimes can get caught up on things that aren’t relevant and I can definitely say this happens to me time to time. This insight is now helping me because I feel that I am more aware then before.  I definitely notice the biggest difference when I am studying for important tests.

            When looking at heuristics, I found this particularly interesting and engaging.   Probably because we talked about how this plays a role in sports and being an athlete myself, it caught my attention right away.  In class we defined heuristics as “Mental shortcuts that do not take into account all possible relevant information needed to make a perfectly accurate judgment.” Why we use heuristics is because it can lead us to an answer much faster and more efficiently.  It is less demanding on our cognitive resources. When looking at heuristics, the concept of regression to the mean is really important and is something that I can relate to best. Regression to the mean is when extreme scores (extremely good or extremely bad) will tend to be less extreme.  In class we looked at an example with Kobe Bryant and his 2005-2006-basketball season.  He had some really good scores and some really low scores but overall he scored 35.4 points on average.  I can relate to this because throughout the soccer seasons I would occasionally play a really good game or really poor game. But the next game I would always bounce back to a more average performance and this is the same for Kobe in his season.  Another thing I found really interesting was learning about the hot hand phenomenon and how it is just an illusion. I’ve been this person before in sports when ill be playing really well and the coach will tell my teammates to pass me the ball as much as possible. So now knowing this, If I’m playing well and my coach tells the team to pass me the ball more, I’ll correct him and tell him that’s a bad idea because my performance will most likely drop to a more average one.  Then ill probably have lower self-esteem.  So thanks heuristics…