Representative vs. Availability Heuristic?

Could you explain the difference between these terms and a possible application? Thank you so much!

Representative heuristic is all about stereotypes. People, for example, assume that I teach elementary school because I am a relatively young, female teacher. Another example would be people assuming a doctor would be male. Availability heuristic is based off the idea that we judge the frequency of events based off of how easy it is to come up with an example of that phenomena. It’s why people are more afraid of sharks than the real killers of the animal world—mosquitos.


The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that helps us make a decision based on how easy it is to bring something to mind. The representativeness heuristic is a mental shortcut that helps us make a decision by comparing information to our mental prototypes.

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