# Intelligence Heuristics And Bias

PSY-101: Principles of Psychology
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 problem 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
COMMON HEURISTIC ERRORS Anchoring Heuristic
● 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
PROBLEM-SOLVING PROBLEMS Functional Fixedness
● Tendency to think of an object only in terms of its typical use ● Lack creativity
Mental Sets ● Tendency for old patterns of problem solving to persist, even in the
face of repeated failure
Confirmation Bias ● Tendency to focus on, and search out, information that “confirms”
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
GARDNER’S MULTIPLE
INTELLIGENCES
STERNBERG’S TRIARCHIC THEORY
CREATIVITY Ability to generate or discover new ideas, solutions, 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

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