|Availability Bias (or Heuristic):
Refers to the tendency to assume, when judging probabilities or predicting outcomes, that the first possibility that comes to mind (i.e., the most cognitively "available" possibility) is also the most likely possibility. For instance, suppose a patient presents with intermittent episodes of very high blood pressure. Because episodic hypertension resembles textbook descriptions of pheochromocytoma, a memorable but uncommon endocrinologic tumor, this diagnosis may immediately come to mind. A clinician who infers from this immediate association that pheochromocytoma is the most likely diagnosis would be exhibiting availability bias. In addition to resemblance to classic descriptions of disease, personal experience can also trigger availability bias, as when the diagnosis underlying a recent patient's presentation immediately comes to mind when any subsequent patient presents with similar symptoms. Particularly memorable cases may similarly exert undue influence in shaping diagnostic impressions.