Heuristic Information-Processing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Heuristic information‐processing is a style of thinking that is characterized by using simple rules (heuristics) learned through experiences to make decisions and judgments efficiently or as easily as possible. People tend to process information heuristically when they are less motivated or lack ability to carefully examine the validity of information they receive, or when they are under time pressure. Heuristics may be activated automatically, with little awareness, by ways that information is presented or by various noncontent‐related message cues such as source attractiveness or expertise. Media may promote heuristic processing by making some information or its aspects and cues more available. Whereas the use of heuristics reduces cognitive load and saves effort and time, it also often results in biased and erroneous judgments.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Political Communication
EditorsGianpietro Mazzoleni
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9781118541555
ISBN (Print)9781118290750
StatePublished - Jan 4 2016


  • biases
  • cognitive processes
  • decision-making
  • framing
  • information-processing and cognitions
  • news reporting
  • risk
  • systematic processing


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