Representativeness refers to the extent to which a sample adequately reflects the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn.
In psychology, representativeness refers to the extent to which an individual or group of individuals is judged to be similar to a larger population or category based on certain characteristics or features. It involves making judgments or decisions based on how typical or representative someone or something seems to be of a larger group.
For example, a hiring manager may judge a job candidate as representative of a certain group based on their appearance or perceived personality traits, even though these characteristics may not necessarily be relevant to the job. Similarly, a person may assume that someone is a student based on their age and appearance, even though they could be a professional or a tourist.
Another common example is the use of stereotypes, where people assume that individuals from a certain group (e.g. race, gender, religion, etc.) possess certain characteristics or behaviors based on their group membership.
Representativeness can also influence the way we make decisions and judgments. For instance, if someone is presented with a list of words and asked to guess which ones belong to a certain category (e.g. fruits), they may be more likely to choose words that seem more representative of that category (e.g. apple, banana, orange) than those that are less typical (e.g. kiwi, avocado).
Overall, representativeness is a cognitive bias that can lead to stereotyping, inaccurate judgments, and flawed decision-making if not recognized and addressed.