Affect Heuristic

Bander was planning to attend a match for his favorite team, but on the same day of the match, he received an email from his manager that his performance level was low this month! After reading the email, he decided that he would not go to the match! .. But why?

The term "Affect Heuristic" refers to the extent to which emotions affect people's decisions, whether those emotions are optimistic, pessimistic, fear, surprise, and so on. People decisions are often made quickly and without thinking. It is often used to judge things from the perspective of potential risks and benefits, based on the person's positive or negative feelings towards the subject. 

For example, when a person is in a positive and optimistic state of mind, s/he often make decisions that s/he believe are low-risk and high-reward, such as learning a new skill, practicing a new hobby, or even going out and enjoying the environment. While a person who is in a negative state of mind often makes high-risk and low-reward decisions, such as quitting a job, wasting time on social media or eating unhealthy meals! 

When people are exposed to information about risks, for example, their decisions will depend on how they are exposed to the information. 

For example, when the following two pieces of information are presented in the following way:

Statistics have shown that:

1- For every 100 people with a similar medical condition to Tariq, there are 10 people who are expected to commit violent acts.

2- Patients with a similar medical condition to Tariq are expected to commit violent acts at a rate of 10%.

Despite the similarity of the two pieces of information above, the way they are presented using numbers (number 1 above) will have a greater impact on people than the way they are presented using percentages (number 2 above). 

This is because emotional estimates are often more pronounced in situations where individuals do not have the resources or time to think carefully to make the right decision. 

Another example: some people might believe that the negatives of using nuclear energy outweigh the positives, even though a person has not actually weighed the pros and cons and then reported (Finnucane et al., 2000).

Finucane, M. L., Alhakami, A., Slovic, P., & Johnson, S. M. (2000). The affect heuristic in judgments of risks and benefits. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 13, 1-17.