Thompson Rivers University

Kahneman on thinking fast and thinking slow

July 10, 2012

According to Kahneman,  Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral Economics, reveals that us humans use two modes of thinking to make choices and decisions. System 1 is fast, makes decisions and choices intuitively and emotionally with very little if any effort. There is no sense of voluntary control on the thought process. System 2 on the other hand is slow in making choices as it allocates time and effort to conduct mental activities which requires it, including complicated calculations. According to Kahneman system 1 is powerful in making choices but often leads to biases and mistakes. As an illustration of this consider the following example:

  • A bat and ball cost together $1.10.
  • The bat costs 1 dollar more than the ball.
  • How much does the ball cost?

Most people answer is 10 cent which is not correct. This is because they use system 1 to answer the problem instead of using system 2 which would require analysis and logic to come up with the right value of the ball. Try this with your students! You can watch Kahneman’s talk on “Exploration of the Mind: Intuition” at the Graduate Council of the University of California Berkeley to get more insights into the fast and slow thinking process of the mind.

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