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Affect Heuristic

Emotions influence our decisions instead of information.

What is it?

When Affect Heuristic affects us, good or bad emotions guide our decisions and opinions instead of information. It distorts our thinking and forces us to arrive at conclusions quickly and make suboptimal choices.

What impact does it have on our decisions and actions?

Affect Heuristic leads to poor choices, especially when we make important decisions quickly. We intuitively decide whether to do or not to do something in response to certain words, colours, images, or scents, without considering the facts. When we interpret statistics or respond to advertisements, we must be mindful of Affect Heuristic.

How can we teach our students to avoid it?

There are two ways to make decisions: either we can rely on the fast, effortless, automatic, and emotional decision-making processes in our brains, or we can rely on the slow, deliberate, and logical ones. Research suggests that teaching students to talk to themselves in the third person while making decisions can help them to become analytical and logical decision-makers. Activities that allow students to learn mindfulness practices will help them regulate emotions and notice when Affect Heuristic is taking over decision-making.


This post is from a #TeachwithInnerkern series.

Main Post: How can we help our students learn to avoid Cognitive Biases?

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