Skip to main content Accesibility Help
  • This chapter is unavailable for purchase
  • Cited by 11
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Sickmann, Jörn Goldbach, Carina and Fenneman, Achiel 2018. Die Zukunft des Bargelds. p. 185.

    Hester, Patrick T. and Adams, Kevin MacG. 2017. Systemic Decision Making. Vol. 33, Issue. , p. 317.

    Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and Hans, Valerie P. 2016. Advances in Psychology and Law. Vol. 1, Issue. , p. 249.

    Dohle, Simone and Siegrist, Michael 2014. Fluency of pharmaceutical drug names predicts perceived hazardousness, assumed side effects and willingness to buy. Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 19, Issue. 10, p. 1241.

    Dolansky, Eric 2014. The subjective valuation of coins and bills. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences / Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Administration, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 78.

    Taffler, Richard J. 2011. Behavioral Finance. p. 259.

    Diab, Dalia L. Pui, Shuang-Yueh Yankelevich, Maya and Highhouse, Scott 2011. Lay Perceptions of Selection Decision Aids in US and Non-US Samples. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 209.

    Gilovich, Thomas D. and Griffin, Dale W. 2010. Handbook of Social Psychology.

    Ebel-Lam, Anna P. Fabrigar, Leandre R. MacDonald, Tara K. and Jones, Sarah 2010. Balancing Causes and Consequences: The Magnitude-Matching Principle in Explanations for Complex Social Events. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 32, Issue. 4, p. 348.

    Spina, Roy R. Ji, Li-Jun Tieyuan Guo Zhiyong Zhang Ye Li and Fabrigar, Leandre 2010. Cultural Differences in the Representativeness Heuristic: Expecting a Correspondence in Magnitude Between Cause and Effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36, Issue. 5, p. 583.

    Cornelissen, Joep P. Kafouros, Mario and Lock, Andrew R. 2005. Metaphorical images of organization: How organizational researchers develop and select organizational metaphors. Human Relations, Vol. 58, Issue. 12, p. 1545.

  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: June 2012

34 - Like Goes with Like: The Role of Representativeness in Erroneous and Pseudo-Scientific Beliefs


As its name implies, the heuristics and biases approach to human judgment has both positive and negative agendas (Griffin, Gonzalez, & Varey, 2001). The positive agenda is to identify the mental operations that yield rapid and compelling solutions to a host of everyday judgmental problems. Most notably, Kahneman and Tversky identified a small number of automatic assessments – similarity, generation of examples, causal judgments – that are made rapidly in response to particular problems and thus exert considerable influence on the judgments that are ultimately rendered (Kahneman & Tversky, 1972; Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). When ascertaining the likelihood that someone is an engineer, for example, one cannot help but assess the similarity between the person in question and the prototypical engineer, and the resultant assessment is, at the very least, the starting point for the judgment of likelihood. Thus, the positive agenda is to understand what the processes of judgment are like.

The negative agenda is to understand what the processes of judgment are not like. Because assessments of similarity, the generation of examples, and causal judgments obey their own logic, everyday judgment will not always be fully “rational” and will not always conform to the laws of probability. Thus, Kahneman and Tversky demonstrated that people's judgments are insufficiently sensitive to sample size, regression effects, prior odds, or, more generally, the reliability and diagnosticity of evidence. Their experiments were carefully crafted to reveal discrepancies between intuitive judgment and what is called for by the appropriate normative analysis.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Heuristics and Biases
  • Online ISBN: 9780511808098
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *