Heuristics: Cognitive Rules of Thumb.

The following demonstration takes about 4 minutes to complete. Don't get started on

it unless you have 3.5 minutes, and you can follow directions.

Click here to begin.

Pick a Number from 1 to 9

This demonstration won't work unless

you do what the box asks. When you

finish (in this case, picking a number from

1 to 9 and remember it) then click the

"social psychology" box below


                Subtract 5                  

Continue.         .

                Multiple by 3                  

Continue.         .

               Square the number

(multiply by the same number--don't take the square root


               Add the digits until you get only one digit              

(for example, if your number is 63 then

6 + 3 equals 9. )


           If the number is less than 5, add five. Otherwise subtract 4.           


           Multiply By 2           


           Subtract 6           


           Map the digit to a letter in the alphabet          

(1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, and so on)


           Pick a name of a country that              

begins with that letter          


            Take the second letter in the               

country name and think of a

              mammal that begins with that letter                


            Think of the color of that mammal                   


            You have a Grey Elephant from Denmark     



This demonstration of cogntive heuristics works best for people who are most familiar with European countries, for the load caused by doing the math pops the name Denmark into their heads most rapidly (instead of the Dominican Republic). And while people can, if they give it some time, think of an animal whose name starts with an E besides an Elephant (how about an Elk), Elephants are cognitively easier.