How often have you heard the phrase, “go with your gut”? For many of the decisions we make, we don’t have data readily at hand because of which we rely on personal experiences in order to make a decision. The affect heuristic considers the association between a stimulus and the feeling, or affect, towards that stimulus. Simply put, it is the goodness or badness a person associates with a subject.
For example, a woman has a sudden onset of extreme sensitivity to light and nausea. A simple way to think about this heuristic in action is that instead of asking the question “should I go to the hospital?”, she asks a question that is easier to answer, “how do I feel about going to the hospital?” Given her unpleasant experience at the hospital the year before, she decides not to go.