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adrw // Andrew Alexander

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Books, Author(Daniel Khaneman)2 min read

2011 | Daniel Khaneman

  • System 1: your immediately accessible thinking

  • System 2: effortful thinking

  • Much human bias comes from assuming our conclusion is from system 2 while really we’ve relied on system 1 since it requires less effort. Humans aren’t made to think probabilistically or statistically.

  • Pupils are the power meter of the mind showing proportional to dilation the amount of mental effort currently being used.

  • Self-control is an effortfull activity and competes with high computation. Trying to do an effort full task that you don’t want to do is that much more difficult because your task now competes for energy with your self-control.

  • “Flow” then is an optimal state where you are so engaged in an effortful task that you don’t require self-control to remain engaged and thus have more energy to use for the primary task.

  • Cognitive performance after a task requiring large amounts of self-control is decreased. This has been named “ego-depletion” and results in a defaulting back to system 1 or poor system 2 performance when mental energy exerted for self-control has left an individual mentally tired.

  • 4 year olds without self-control to delay gratification of 1 cookie now for 2 cookies in 15 minutes grow up to have reduced executive function, ability to redirect their attention away from something, and are more likely to do drugs.

  • “Lazy” thinking involves taking the most intuitive response as what must be true and not investing the mental effort to critically verify if the system 1 intuitive answer is true. Most people are “lazy” thinkers. Unwillingness to invest energy to verify one’s own intuitive answers leads to poorly informed and biased decision making.

  • System 2 has two parts

    • Algorithmic/intelligence: handles logical, slow, computational thinking. Primary determinable of intelligence.
    • Rationality: someone who is mentally engaged, reflective. Bias can influence even intelligent people who lack reflective rationality.
  • The Associative Mind: system 1 task that automatically ripples out a word to associated memories to associated responses

  • Cognition is embodied. We think with our body not just our mind. The associativity of ideas means that we tie concepts together and respond together by resemblance, contiguity in time and place, and causality (David Hume).

  • The marvels of priming: when presented with the task to fill in so_p with the first thing that comes to mind

    • if you’ve recently been reminded of food, you’ll be primed to say soup
    • if recently reminded of cleaning, you’ll say soap
  • Priming can be not just for words or concepts but also to prompt action. One experiment primed participants with words related to the elderly and decrepid, and the group walked down the hallway immediately following measurably slower and more frail than the control group who had not been primed with those words.

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