Why Everyone Knows a Healthy [Insert Unhealthy Behavior]

When talking about the topic of health, young people's opinions can be surprising irrational. What constitutes healthy behavior, will often have more to do with subjective experience and bias than objective evidence. So how can cognitive bias influence the topic of human health?

The Availability Heuristic

According to researchers, the Availability Heuristic is a cognitive bias in the interpretation of information whereby 'people use the ease with which examples can be brought to mind as a cue for estimating their probability.'
The Availability Heuristic can be observed in many every day health opinions, in particular those opinions based on personal associations instead of probable evidence. For example, when discussing smoking, a young person may use one strong family memory as probable evidence to justify an unhealthy choice (see tweet above).

Why Everyone Seems to Know a Healthy [Insert Unhealthy Behavior]

By applying the Availability Heuristic to the health opinions of young people, you can begin to understand how unhealthy behavior can become irrationally associated with positive health outcomes despite more probable evidence to the contrary (see tweet below).
1. Young people are less likely to have known those who have died from unhealthy behavior. As a result, memories associating unhealthy behavior with negative outcomes may be less easily available and judged as less probable.

2. Young people are more likely to have known those who have survived unhealthy behavior. As a result, memories associating unhealthy behavior with positive outcomes may be more easily available and judged as more probable.

Hence the reason why everyone seems to know a healthy [insert unhealthy behavior].

The Future of Digital is Mobile

Occasionally, whilst foraging for knowledge berries on the internet, you stumble upon a patch of tasty information. This was the case on Sunday when I read an article by John Naughton titled, "Real cost of the smartphone revolution: The smartphone market is expanding at an astonishing rate, but is it damaging creativity and innovation on the web?"

The article referenced a May 2012 conference presentation written by the industry analyst Mary Meeker from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Drawing from a range on secondary sources, the presentation puts forward a compelling view of current and future digital activity.

While there are numerous insights and trends from Meeker in the deck, I've pulled out two highlights that I found of particular interest.  

Insight One: The Future of Digital is Mobile

At present mobile traffic represents 10% of global internet traffic, but according to Meeker while "internet growth remains robust, rapid mobile adoption is still in [its] early stages" and will likely impact global desktop internet usage (see recent data from India below).
Insight Two: Companies Need to Think Mobile

The opportunity for mobile innovation to 're-imagine,' or disrupt, stable categories like finance, energy and retail is immense. Industries and companies that fail to proactively develop strategies for dealing with the shift to mobile are likely to lose market share.    
For those that are interested in the full presentation, a copy can be found below:  
KPCB Internet Trends 2012