Availability Heuristic

When an event is highlighted in the media, it distorts people’s perceptions. A study asked students whether drug use was increasing or decreasing in recent years. Most answer that it is increasing.

However, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse in the United States shows the contrary.

We tend to use the information that comes most readily to mind to make decisions about the future. 

See the full study here :

Eisenman, Russell. “Belief that drug usage in the United States is increasing when it is really decreasing: An example of the availability heuristic.” Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 31, no. 4 (1993), 249-252.

Want to know more about biases?

Bandwagon Effect

Hick’s Law

Goal Gradient Effect

Fear of missing out