Thinking Fast and Slow
How faster is not always better
In our modern societies, it seems as if anything that is faster, is always better. There are exceptions, however, and the practice of thinking is one of them.
Cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains that we basically think in two distinct fashions. System 1 is fast, instinctive and emotional, while System 2 is slower, more deliberative and more logical.
For most of the day, System 1 thinking will suffice. When you’re making a cup of coffee you do that without too much thought. You can most probably do it while having a conversation with someone. But, when you’re trying out a new recipe for dinner, you need to stop doing anything else and really focus on the job at hand — you need System 2 thinking.
Another way of saying it is, System 1 thinking happens unconsciously, and System 2 thinking is conscious thinking.
Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky developed their Prospect Theory, which established a cognitive basis for common errors that arise from heuristics and biases. Heuristics are rules of thumb — simple strategies that can be used to quickly find solutions to complex problems, for instance, by focusing on the most relevant aspects of a problem. Heuristic processes are used to find solutions most likely to be correct, which does not mean however that heuristics are always right. What Kahneman and Tversky found was that cognitive biases influence especially the faster thinking — the System 1 thinking. “Jumping to conclusions” is a very apt phrase in this respect.
In other words, if you want to avoid making rash decisions based on assumptions and biases, take your time, and consciously think things through. In the end, it will pay off.
If you are interested in psychology at work and want to go more in-depth, you can buy Essential Psychology for Modern Organizations from Amazon and other bookstores: