Decision making Quotes approximately right than precisely wrong

It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong. picture quote

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Decision making Quotes

It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

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It is better to be approximately right Quote Meaning

Quote misattributed by Warren Buffett. While making decisions, make sure that some of the factors are based on facts so that your decision can be approximately right. If you decision is based on your gut feeling, then it may as well be completely wrong.

Main Topic : Decision making Quotes

Related Topics : Better, Approximate, Right, Precisely, Wrong

It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

Author : Warren Buffett

Quotation Reference :

Heuristics – Mental Shortcut to Understand others

Just like in attribution, social cognition also people use the least amount of cognitive effort in arriving at conclusions about people and situations. Only on rare occasions are people willing to spend extra time and effort in coming to an understanding of the social world.

Heuristics refer to experience-based techniques for problem-solving, learning and discovery. Heuristics methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical. Examples of this method include common sense judgement and intuitive judgement.

Heuristics are simple, efficient rules, hard-coded by evolutionary process or learned, which have been proposed to explain how people come to judgements, make decisions, and solve problems when they have incomplete information or while solving complex problems. These rules may work for most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to systematic errors or cognitive biases.

Strategies are used to reduce effort and decrease the extent of information overload, yet there exists a fair degree of accuracy in the judgements. Heuristics is one such well researched and understood mental shortcuts. It is aimed at providing single decision-making rules and drawing easy and fast conclusions. Two mechanisms that are at work in everyday living are representativeness and availability.


Let us take an example of a neighbour who has a house full of books, is orderly and neat, is reserved and wears conservative clothes. From this limited available information, we want to guess her profession. Here, we determine the profession by using the heuristics of representativeness. We compare her to people we know who are similar regarding these characteristics and then try to fit her into their category. For example, she could be a school librarian or a college professor. In making such a judgement, we are using the simple rule that the more typically she resembles a member of a given group; the more likely it is that she belongs to that group.

The accuracy of such a judgement is not always reliable because there are people who display traits but do not belong to the group, which is typical. Relying completely on representativeness heuristics has the danger of people overlooking other types of information. The error arising from this tendency is known as base rate fallacy. Here, we tend to ignore useful base-rate information; this refers to the frequency with which some events or characteristics occur in the general population.


Availability means what comes to mind first. Here, judgements are made by easy to remember the rule. The easier ones are recalled more readily and are used for knowing the social world. The ease of recall is the basis of judging. The availability of shortcut for understanding people and things around us has other implications are given below.

False Consensus Effect: We all have certain details that readily come to our mind; we have a tendency to believe that others also must be thinking the same. For example, if we believe that abortion is wrong as it involves terminating of life; the moral factors would come readily to mind when the issue of abortion is raised. The availability heuristics believes that others also have similar views. This tendency is known as false consensus effect. Here more people than perhaps exist are seen as agreeing with one’s point of view. This false consensus arises because we wish to believe that others are also in agreement, and it is easier to notice and remember those people who have a similar position as our own. This is facilitated by the availability of the shortcut. Further, we associate with those people who share our views. Thus, we are more exposed to people who think like us, as we tend to befriend those people who are somewhat like us. This also results in a higher degree of availability for agreement and further contributes to the false consensus effect. This effect is prevalent most of the time, but it does fail when some people are motivated to perceive themselves as unique and therefore wish to stand out, disregarding the consensus factor.

Priming: Often, when we read the description of diseases, we start to identify some of the symptoms in us as well. Reading a horror story at night when alone could make us believe and see certain frightening things around us. These are instances of the effect of priming. Certain stimuli heighten the availability of certain information that is readily brought to mind. Similarly, traits that are used for describing a person are used as primary for generating impressions about them, even if they are fictitious characters. Priming is a social fact and is based on the availability heuristics.

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About Sriyan Sivakumar 2376 Articles
Interested in drawing pictures which inspires and hopefully transforms thinking and perception.