Friday, February 19, 2021

Familiarity Heuristic or Why People Like Monopoly

 A heuristic is  a decision rule we use to help us, well , made decisions such as "I like pizza".          When deciding what to each ,  that I already like pizza will influence the decision. We use a number of heuristics in order to help us make daily decisions so that our brain does start from scratch ever time it has to decide something. 

The familiarity  heuristic  says that things we judge things that are familiar to us as more important or more likely to happen than are things unfamiliar to us.        You can see an example of this in this year's Super Bowl between Tampa Bay and   Kansas City. Oddsmakers gave Kansas City the edge because of their play this year and their younger quarterback. However, if you asked the average person with only passing familiarity with football, they would have picked Tampa Bay. Why? Tom Brady. Not because of his skill but because they had heard of him. Familiar with something makes us think it is better , so we are more likely to select it and quite often, we are right to do so. If something is not  "important" or "good", it does not attract our attention and we do not remember it.

Thus Pokemon, D&D and Monopoly (yes Monopoly) dominate  sales in their categories in the mass market because the average customer is familiar with them. If I have heard of it, it must be "good".

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