How do we think? Daniel Kahneman’s two thought systems

According to author Shanon M. Koening, people have 60,000 thoughts a day and most are negative. Such a shocking number reminds us of how little we know about thinking and the great influence it has on our behavior and decision-making.

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist

A prestigious American psychologist realized the importance of thinking and his research won him the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. To explain the theory that led him to the Nobel Prize, Kahneman begins by asking his students the following riddle:

Do not try to solve this exercise and try to use intuition:

A bat and a ball cost 1.10. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball, how much is the ball?

The answer to 10 cents is touted as a quick, powerful, and appealing hunch, but it is incorrect.

To come up with the right solution, 5 cents, many of us will have to resort to pencil and paper, turning the puzzle into a mathematical equation. We’ll have to resort to the slowest, most tiring way of thinking our brain allows it. Some psychologists consider that this type of test is a more valid predictor of intelligence than current IQ tests.. In this case, it serves to illustrate that intuitions can be wrong, however powerful they may seem.

Kahneman uses this example to describe the two different ways in which the mind creates thought.

First of all, there is the System 1 is implied. This way of thinking is rapid, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypical and unconscious. On the other hand, is the System 2 or explicit. He is slow, lazy, infrequent, logical, calculating, and accompanied by the awareness of solving a problem.

These two systems of antagonistic nature are found in the daily life of every decision of our life.

How do the 2 thought systems work?

The 10 cent quick fix you gave early on at the start of the workout is due to how System 1 works giving you a reasonable answer. However, when you used pen and paper, you used System 2, which this time offered you the right 5-cent solution, a slower and more expensive solution, but in the end the correct answer.

This is so because system 1, guided by intuition and heuristics, it allows us to perform simple tasks like walking or brushing our teeth effortlessly. On the other hand, System 2 will be in play when we do the more complicated tasks, like learning to drive.

System 1 and System 2 are both permanently active and communicating. System 1 determines our thoughts with external perceptions, visual and associative memory, and then comes up with a framed conclusion, which we don’t even question, thus avoiding any other alternate story. The challenge is that he usually does a good job, so we can trust him.

Intuitions guide our daily life

Using heuristics theory, Kahneman says January’s system combines new information with existing patterns, or thoughts, rather than creating new patterns for each new experience.a. This results in different types of bias. The January system, by generating a narrow and framed reflection, seeks to demonstrate that it leads directly to a confirmation bias. Confirmation bias leads people to ignore certain evidence that contradicts such thinking, and this is one of the biggest individual problems when companies make decisions.

Ultimately, people tend to seek out information that validates their initial hypothesis. Kahneman details a series of experiments that aim to highlight the differences between these two thought processes and how they arrive at different results even if they receive the same information.

You now know a little more about these products that your brain generates on average 60,000 times a day, and how many of them are generated quickly and without taking into account all the information present leading to wrong conclusions.

So, the next time you make a bad decision, don’t throw it in your face. You now know that it is System 1 that acts automatically and that the best decision you can make is to take paper and a pen to make Reflection System 2 activate and get you to make the right decisions.

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