Muslims and the availability heuristic


The availability heuristic is a cognitive bias, or mental shortcut, which underlies our tendency to overestimate the significance of information that comes easily to hand. Such information may be something we heard recently or often, or it may be something that we remember simply because it is emotionally charged. The following (recent, of course) article in The Economist is an example of this tendency in action, and may have something to say about the frequency and nature of media reporting about Islam in Europe.

Islam in Europe

THE brutal murder of 12 people at the offices of a satirical magazine in Paris today appears to have been carried out by militant Islamists. If so, many will again question the compatability of Islam with secular-minded, liberal European values. Mistrust of religion is not confined to Islam, but Europeans regard it as more threatening to their national cultures than other faiths (or indeed atheism), according to a 2013 poll by the Bertelsmann Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Germany…. read more


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