Cog blog Extra Credit:
One day after work my mother needed me to withdraw $50 out her account to buy my sister’s Christmas gift. Since I was going to the ATM anyway to withdraw $50 out mine to pay for some Eagles tickets, she thought I could kill two birds with one stone if I did the same for her.
Getting up to the ATM I used my debit card first to withdraw $50 from my account. While working through the ATM settings I noticed a $50 fast cash button. I felt like instead of getting any farther I could merely use this button and cash my $50 faster. It took less than 1 minute to finish my transaction.
After using my card, I processed to swipe my mother’s card. Knowing we have the same bank institution and I’m using the same ATM machine, the $50 fast cash button should pop up as well. Like before I flicked along the fast cash $50 button. A couple of seconds went by and the ATM machine seemed like it was preparing for something big. The money didn’t come out fast like mines did, that’s when I knew something was wrong. When the money started to come out the machine, it was more than $50. Going over my ticket I noticed it said, “$500 withdraw.” That’s when it dawned on me. The machine didn’t say fast cash $50 it said, “Fast cash $500.” I looked at my mother’s card to see why it came out different, and I saw her card wasn’t a debit card, it was a savings card. At that instant I knew I was a dead woman walking.
My experience was an example of lesson 14 reasoning and decision making, heuristics. Heuristics rely on past experience as a guide for a shortcut. (Goldstein. 2011) Since I used my card first to do the $50 fast cash I thought it would work using my mother’s card too. Instead of going through the options I jumped for a shortcut that landed me in trouble with my mother.
Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 3rd Edition. Wadsworth, Inc.