Representativeness heuristic

Explain how the representativeness heuristic leads people to make judgments based on descriptive information while disregarding base rate information. Additionally, consider the following description: Mary graduated from Georgetown University. She remained in the Washington, D.C., area for employment opportunities following graduation. She reads the newspaper every day, first absorbing the political section in its entirety. Mary has voted in every election (national and local) and has worked as a political activist since she turned 18.

  • Is Mary more likely to become an elementary school teacher or a Supreme Court clerk?
  • How closely do you think Mary’s characteristics match those of a typical court clerk vs. a typical schoolteacher?
  • Is there anything definitive in the descriptive information that would make you draw a conclusion that contradicts that predicted by base rates? Explain.

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