I am currently reading the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and I’m not too far into it yet, but it already has some really interesting thoughts on the mind and how people think. The book starts out by breaking the brain down into two systems. System 1 is the quick-thinking, automatic, and intuitive portion of the brain and thought process. System 2 is the analytical, deep thought processing portion of the brain.
System 1 is easily identifiable by simple things you don’t actually have to think about. An example is how you can drive and listen to the radio at the same time without any deep thinking required. System 2 requires more attention and thought. Imagine you’re walking at a brisk pace with a friend, and ask them on the spot to answer as quickly as possible the math of 29*67. It is most likely that your friend will actually stop walking without realizing it because system 2 kicks in and requires more energy to figure out the answer.
There was also an example about how in certain situations, system 1 can reach a solution to a problem without overthinking it, but actually be incorrect. Consider the following example:
A bat and ball cost $1.10
The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?
System 1 can quickly read this and most people will jump to the conclusion that the ball costs $.10, without taking in consideration the words “more than” in the problem. If you sit and take some time to engage system 2, you will realize that the ball actually costs $.05. Don’t worry, my mind went to $.10 immediately too, and I actually had to put the book down and figure it out because it messed with my mind some when I learned that it was wrong.
This week, take time and care to ignore those snap judgments and calculations before coming to a quick conclusion. Focus on engaging system 2 a bit more and think about how you think.