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Into the mind of Mr. X

To study the effect of the first of these cognitive biases, the Availability heuristic, I’ve inserted the key words of Mr. X’s posts in Google Trend, which allows to observe the frequency of searches for a specific word (the values range from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the moment of maximum research compared to the rest of the period). What I expected to see was a match between the increase of researches of a word and the usage of that word/concept in the posts.

However, the results I have obtained go beyond all the initial expectations.

The Great Fear

The Great Conspiracy

It’s as much fun as it is disturbing to see how most of Mr. X’s posts, from the weirdest to the most serious, are so strongly dependent on what is being dealt with at a specific time in the rest of the country.

The Availability heuristic works just like that. Our mind, in order not to struggle, takes what is the most available information, constructs a sensible reasoning on it, and justifies what surrounds us without questioning the validity of what we are stating.  After all, the Availability heuristic starts from the assumption that if something can be easily recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions that are not so readily available. People often rely uncritically on the content of their beliefs, if their implications are not called into question by the difficulty they have in examining the subject in question.

This is one of the main reasons behind the fact that Mr. X, who had initially such a good approach to Covid-19, inviting people to stay at home and approach it with caution, has radically changed his mind, bombarded by the endless news that have overwhelmed all of us in recent months.

Looking back we see how Mr. X has said so many stupid things. However, at the time when most of the news had come out, they didn’t seem not so stupid. That’s normal. The further we get away from the information over time, the more we can give it the right weight it deserves, which often does not correspond to the importance given at the beginning.

Now, let’s examine the other relevant cognitive biases in the case of Mr.X

(scroll down to go to the next page)

By Lorenzo Marchetti

Laureato in economia aziendale e management con lode alla Bocconi, ora frequenta la specialistica in International Management, sempre alla Bocconi.

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