There are two teachers teaching the same English class. You are familiar with one teacher because your brother took his class when he was a freshman and passed with an A. You have never met the other teacher and don’t know anyone who has taken his class. Rather than risk failing the class, you decide on the class with the teacher your brother took a class with.
You probably decided on the teacher that your brother knew because we tend to rely on what is comfortable and familiar to us. In other words, we have a tendency to avoid making choices that involve uncertainty.
The Ambiguity Effect
When decision-making is affected by a lack of information, it is known as the ambiguity effect.
In 1961 while completing his Ph.D. in economics, Daniel Ellsberg coined this term. His dissertation on decision theory was based on a set of thought experiments that showed that decisions under conditions of uncertainty might not be consistent with individual beliefs; this became known as the ambiguity effect.
We tend to rely heavily on news and social media to learn about the things happening in our country and around the world. Often, we create an image of people, cultures, countries, etc. based on things we “know” from these outlets. Later, we use this information when voting; if we don’t know much about a bill or candidate, we might make a decision based on what has been presented to us in the media. Although it is comfortable to vote for something you think you know much about, it is vital to research all options in order to make the most informed decision.