Mitigating biases, stereotypes, and heuristics

ALL sources must be within the past 5 years.
Mitigating biases, stereotypes, and heuristics is a topic of much research including the
creation of methods to measure the extent of these behaviors. In this assignment, you
will evaluate the methods used to measure biases, stereotypes, and heuristics.
Evaluate the methods used to measure biases, stereotypes, and heuristics. Include the
following in your paper:

  1. An evaluative summary of the properties of psychometrically sound measures
  2. An evaluation of the methods used to measure biases, stereotypes, and heuristics. Do
    these methods conform to psychometrically sound measurement principles? Why or
    why not?

Mitigating biases, stereotypes, and heuristics


Bias, stereotypes and heuristics are important subjects of social psychology that are
concerned with an individual’s way of thinking. A person is able to make judgment, as well
as justify the reasons for the verdict, according to the influence of personal bias. As a result, it
may lead to the development of stereotypes based on these findings and they may be arrived
at using different types of heuristics. This paper seeks to discuss evaluative methods of
measuring the three subjects of social psychology and their conformity to psychological

Main body

There are three types of heuristics which help in arriving at judgments in the social
world. Representative heuristic is applied when an individual make a decision on the basis of
semblance, while availability heuristic is applicable where a judgment is arrived at on the
basis of information that is coming to the mind. Anchoring and adjustment heuristics occurs
where the extensive use of values are used in order to make judgment (Baron et al, 2009). It
can be argued that representative heuristics uses common knowledge of how people behave,
act or wear, which will determine the domino effect. For instance, a person in a white


dustcoat, a pen and a stethoscope around the neck inside the hospital is most likely to be a
On the hand, availability heuristics are relevant when specific stimuli is replayed in
the mind, which in turn form the basis by which a judgment is going to be arrived at. When a
person is involved in a train accident, the events that led to this accident will always be the
basis in which the person will decide the means of transport to use when travelling. The last
illustration is where the decision is made from the known to the unknown. For instance, when
an individual decides to visit a friend, the friend’s residence becomes the start point of
navigating your way from your location to the friend’s place using any medium of transport


One of the ways in which stereotype can be explained is the stand-off between the
Whites and the Negroes which occurred in the 50’s in America. While the whites were
considered to be intelligent and ambitious, Negroes were considered to be ignorant and lazy
(Tarbot & Durrheim, 2012). Stereotype is all about arriving at decision based on the
characteristics a particular social group is believed to have (Baron et al, 2009). In other
words, stereotyping is basically attitudes or feelings towards a particular social group like the
example given above. While it may be hard to know the origin of stereotypes, it is possible to
state the most common type of stereotype, which is gender stereotype. This is where
decisions are made based on the knowledge an individual has on the sex of the other person.
For instance, women are generally known for their ability to bring forth life and
therefore they may be considered to be life supporters. On the contrary, men are presumed to
handle difficult life riddles and so they can become protectors. However, this may be hard to
proof because there are single mothers who have been able to raise their children with little or
no support from a man. It is therefore important to find a leveling place where there is neither


senior group nor minor group; people, race, or tribe. The fact that people are different in the
way they behave and conduct themselves should be respected.


Every individual is influenced by some form of bias which is explained in two
categories, namely, cognition and motivation. Cognitive explanation suggests that interior
causes will always compel an individual to be biased towards positive outcome, while
exterior causes makes an individual be biased towards negative outcome. This is an
assumption that the thing that are innate cannot not, in any way, bring negative results
because of the expectation that internal causes should make an individual succeed which
boosts the self-esteem of an individual. Motivational explanation alludes that the self-serving
bias stems from our need to protect and enhance our self-esteem or the related desire to look
good to others. Looking down on an individual for many is not acceptable. Whenever people
are rewarded or are recognized in work place because of hard work creates room for
happiness, and will work with enthusiasm and confidence thereafter. Either of these two
approaches can be self biased.

Conformation to psychology

Bias, stereotypes and heuristics are all subjects that can help in determining human’s
social relations with others. The practical examples that have been adopted in this paper are
just indications of how accurate these methods can be in social psychology. However, to
some extent, the level of accuracy can be compromised especially because of personal
biasness towards a particular group of people. In addition, stereotypes may raise serious
concerns about the group being stereotyped and as a result, it can revive some sort of
biasness. In other words, whether these methods qualify to be measurement principles will
solely depend on how these three subjects are employed by an individual.



On a personal opinion, heuristics are frameworks that are capable of giving accurate
outcome since the characteristics that are used are overt. Stereotypes require an individual to
be cautious in making judgment. It requires an individual to conduct deep investigation as
well as analysis before giving out the results. Finally, biasness is the one that does not qualify
because it is self-seeking and therefore creates for selfish move in the name of strengthening


Baron, R. A. (2009). Social Pschology. Boston: Pearson Education.
Talbot, K. &. (2012). The priceton Trilogy revisited: how have racial stereotypes changed in
South Africa. Psychological Society of South Africa , 476-491.

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