Availability bias (availability heuristic) is a form of cognitive bias in which a person's recollection of a past event colors that person's interpretation of current events.


Features of availability bias:

(1) The observer has recently seen, heard about, read about, or experienced a process.

(2) The process has made an impression on the observer so that it is easily recalled (it is memorable).

(3) The observer perceives the presence of that process even when it is not present, leading to misdiagnosis.


Perhaps a person who is "suggestible" is just experiencing availability bias.


Eventually the problem may be recognized, but this may take some time if the person is enamored with the idea or refuses to admit error.


This must be distinguished from being taught something and recognizing it as a result, whereas before it went unrecognized. In this case the process really is present.


Some authors (Cohen et al) have used the term "availability bias" to refer to choosing a diagnostic or therapeutic course based on the availability of a resource.


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