Does the Media Curve our Heuristics?
Lately the news has been filled with violent crimes, murderers, protests, and police brutality. How much of our perception to the media change our heuristics and create our stigmas. People are protesting the way news reporters display victims of different races. Availability heuristic states that people are guided by what we remember in the past (Goldstein, 2011). When watching the news or reading the newspaper perception might be altered from what we experience. Descriptions like Ala. suspect brilliant, but social misfit and Montgomery’s latest homicide victim had history of narcotics abuse, tangles with the law can effect it (Wing, 2014). The first post was about a caucasian who committed murder the second post is about a black individual who got murder in police brutality (Wing, 2014). Although this may not seem that it alters your stigma and stereotypes, seeing constant portrayal of these groups of people changes perception. This can especially happen when you do not get a chance to meet other cultures and races. In that situation it is easy to make assumptions and stereotypes. It is similar to the effect of when people are asked which deaths occur more on airplane accidents or automobile accidents. Most people believe that more people die from airplane accidents rather than automobiles. This is because our memory is not perfect. We easily remember events that are tragic like 9/11 but don’t really remember all of the auto accidents that happen on the news. We also do not hear about every auto accident that happens. In addition, as humans we also wrongfully assume that some small samples can represent for a larger groups or populations (Goldstein, 2011). This does not make it any easier to ease stigma and stereotypes. Some people may take a stigma across a whole group of people. People also tend to use causal interference. This happens when reading a headline like Ala. suspect brilliant, but social misfit. Reading this my perception of the sentence can be, this tragedy happened because he was brilliant, but a social misfit so he must have a mental problem.
Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology. Belmont, Canada: Cengage Learning .
Wing, N. (2014, 8 14). When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/media-black-victims_n_5673291.html