The Distance Between Perception and Reality in the Social Domains of Life

  • Eduardo LoraEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


This chapter provides an overview of the psychological biases behind the striking gaps between perception and reality in four social domains—health, employment, the perception of security, and social ranking. Biases associated with cultural values are very relevant with respect to health and job satisfaction. Affect and availability heuristics are the dominant sources of bias in perceptions of security. The formation of subjective social rankings appears to be less culturally dependent and more dependent on the level of socioeconomic development of each country. Understanding the gaps between objective and subjective indicators may help clarify public debate on social policy.


Perceptions Subjective indicators Objective indicators Perception of health Perception of security Job satisfaction Social ranking Heuristics Subjective well-being Latin America 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for International DevelopmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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