Heuristics Within Criminology

The heuristic method is considered essential in medical care. Its not surprising that physicians favour this process particularly in emergency cases wherein they have to make a quick judgment when treating a patient. The heuristic concept in medicine basically involves making assumptions or a speculative formulation when making a diagnosis.

In the article Whats the  Trouble How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman (2007), he relates the case of Dr. Croskerry, who admitted that he committed a representativeness error which could have cost his patients life. The said error involves making a conclusion based on what they think is typically true. Croskerry should have administered further tests to ascertain the patients true condition. This kind of error can be seen not only in medical practices but in the everyday lives of people as we neglect to think of other possibilities that pertain to a particular situation, complacently thinking that we got the situation under control only to realize in the end that we miscalculated.
The final story in the article also related another heuristically-based error called affective error wherein professional thinking is influenced by emotional biases. These types of errors that are heuristic in nature should serve as reminders to criminologists, particularly when they are in the process of understanding a crime problem. Criminological work is a crucial aspect of modern society and the public expects criminal investigators to be professionals and completely thorough in their work.


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