Heuristics are mental shortcuts or rules of thumb that individuals use to simplify decision-making and problem-solving processes. These are cognitive strategies that people employ to quickly arrive at satisfactory solutions or make judgments without going through an exhaustive analysis of all available information. Heuristics can be useful in certain situations, as they allow individuals to make decisions rapidly and efficiently. However, they can also lead to systematic errors or biases under certain conditions.

Here are some common types of heuristics:

1. **Availability Heuristic:** This heuristic involves making decisions based on the information readily available in memory. If something is easily recalled or brought to mind, people tend to overestimate its importance or likelihood. For example, if a person recently read a news article about plane crashes, they may overestimate the risk of flying.

2. **Representativeness Heuristic:** People often make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how well it matches a prototype or stereotype. This can lead to errors if the base rate information is not properly considered. For instance, if someone assumes that a person who wears glasses and reads a lot must be a professor, they are relying on representativeness without considering the base rate of professors in the population.

3. **Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic:** This heuristic involves starting with an initial estimate (the anchor) and then adjusting it based on additional information. Anchors can bias decision-making if they are unrelated to the actual value. For example, if people are asked to estimate the percentage of African countries in the United Nations and are first asked whether the number is greater or less than 10%, their subsequent estimate is likely to be influenced by that initial anchor.

4. **Satisficing:** This heuristic involves choosing the first option that meets a minimal criteria or threshold, rather than seeking the optimal solution. Satisficing allows for quick decision-making, but it may not result in the best possible outcome.

5. **Confirmation Bias:** While not a traditional heuristic, confirmation bias is a common cognitive bias that influences decision-making. It involves seeking out or giving more weight to information that confirms preexisting beliefs and ignoring or downplaying information that contradicts them.

Heuristics are inherent in human decision-making and are often adaptive, allowing individuals to make quick judgments in complex and uncertain situations. However, they can also lead to errors, especially when the underlying assumptions or shortcuts are not appropriate for the specific context. Understanding heuristics and being aware of their potential biases can help individuals make more informed decisions.