Annie Duke

Sharks or Horses, Annie Duke Discusses Availability Bias and Why Individuals Have an Irrational Fear of Sharks


Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/03/2014 -- Using her studies in cognitive psychology to achieve success in various fields, such as professional poker and public speaking, Annie Duke is often thinking about how individuals perceive different events and occurrences. As Shark Week is always a family favorite in the Duke household, the former professional poker player and prominent public speaker has recently weighed in on the Discovery Channel’s popular program, comparing the effects of Availability Bias to the common perception of sharks.

After watching a recent video on Availability Bias, Annie Duke let her fans know that thinking rationally will help to understand the reality about sharks. In a recent blog post, Duke writes that a horse causes about 20 times more deaths per year than sharks, and she answers the question as to why a large percentage of people think sharks are one of the most dangerous species on earth. “The root cause of the mistake is that events we hear about more in the news, that are more vivid and emotional in their descriptions, are easier to recall from memory than things that are boring and dry in their detail,” explains Duke.

This theory stems from the concept of Availability Bias - the more examples that a person remembers the more common it is. When something is easier to recall based on the coverage of certain events or occurrences, individuals determine through bias that those specific events occur more frequently in the real world. “The Availability Bias has deep effects,” writes Duke. “Not just on our own thoughts and actions and assessments of what is dangerous or not but also on public policy and fear.”

It’s a concept that causes systematic errors in an individual’s thought process. The best way to avoid Availability Bias is to make decisions based on statistics and not media headlines.

For more information about decision science, the concept of Availability Bias, and cognitive psychology in the real world, visit Annie Duke’s website to watch videos or read more from her blog

About Annie Duke
Annie Duke has a strong track record of success in the world of poker. She first burst onto the scene at the 1994 World Series of Poker, where she cashed in three events including making the final three tables of the Main Event. A decade later, she won her first WSOP bracelet and in 2010 became the NBC National Heads-Up Champion when she bested runner-up, Erik Seidel. Duke has appeared on Celebrity Apprentice and tutored Hollywood A-listers including Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the finer points of the game of poker. She is also the author of three books on poker: Decide to Play Great Poker; Heads-Up Tournament Poker; and The Middle Zone. She also authored an autobiography, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker.

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