The Association for Qualitative Research
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Availability Bias

The more vivid and easier an event is to bring to mind, the more we overestimate how likely it is to happen.

This phenomenon was first studied by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1973 which soon developed into a popular topic in law, medicine and political science. For example, events such as plane crashes are often vividly covered in the news making them easier to recall and imagine. Consequently, they seem more likely to occur than they really are.

Insurance sales people often benefit or even take advantage of availability bias as people are more willing to buy insurance right after a disaster occurred. Similarly, a burglary at a friend’s house may significantly boost the perceived need to insure against such an event.

 

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