Availability bias is a mental shortcut we use when evaluating a topic or decision by relying on immediate examples that come to mind. For example, below is a chart with the planet’s deadliest animals in 2015.
Before you look at it, what animals come to mind when you think of deadly animals?
I think I might have had lions/tigers, snakes and sharks in some order.
The deadliest animals were mosquitoes and humans by a distance. The shark attack number is the lowest of the lot. But, I was drawing from the fact that I have seen more pieces of news about Shark attacks than Jellyfish killings. And, that is a classic example of Availability bias.
Similarly, the world is more peaceful than it has ever been. And, yet, politicians and the media would love to have us believe that we are in constant danger. Hearing something regularly doesn’t make it true.
Thanks to my good friend Bill Gates for sharing this graphic (just kidding of course). And, congratulations to the Gates foundation for leading the charge in the fight against malaria and contributing to the decline of Malaria by 57% in sub Saharan Africa.