Have you ever thought about why it’s easier to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize your own?
Daniel Kahneman aims to answer that question (among many others) in his classic book “Thinking, Fast And Slow.”
If you find it difficult to question what you believe, you’re not alone. We all have biases that tend to occur in certain circumstances.
One of the main biases is the bias of intuition.
How The Subconscious Interacts With The Conscious
Throughout the book, Daniel Kahneman tells the story of System 1 and System 2 of the mind. I like to think of these two as the subconscious and conscious mind.
- System 1 is automatic and quick to react
- System 2 handles logic and mental activities that require effort
System 1 (the subconscious) remembers things, keeps the score, and makes choices.
System 2 (the conscious) experiences life by practicing agency, choice, and effortful thinking.
System 2 deals with anything too complex for System 1 to react to automatically.
The Risks Of Overconfidence
System 1 jumps to conclusions based on little evidence. The only evidence that System 1 will use is the evidence at hand, meaning what it sees is all there is.
For example, some of our beliefs are based on very little evidence, yet we maintain confidence in these opinions and stories we tell ourselves.
Constructing a coherent story in your mind doesn’t necessarily make the story true.
Daniel Kahneman calls this the illusion of validity. Sometimes we continue to feel and act as if our beliefs are true even when overwhelming evidence tells us otherwise.
Admissions of uncertainty should be taken seriously.
Cognitive illusions can be stubborn.
For example, stock traders seem to be ignorant of their ignorance.
Stock buyers think the price is too low and likely to rise. Yet, stock sellers believe the price is high and likely to drop.
Why do buyers and sellers think the price is wrong?
Daniel Kahneman says that for most of them, the belief is an illusion.
It’s important to remember that prediction errors are inevitable because the world isn’t predictable.
Let’s get back to the idea of bias of intuition. Daniel mentioned in the book that so-called “miracles of expert intuition“ only develop when individuals learn to recognize elements in certain situations and act appropriately.
Apparently, our intuition is more about recognition than we may think.
System 1 stores information for quicker responses later on. System 1 then makes suggestions to System 2.
If System 2 accepts these impressions and intuitions, they will become beliefs and voluntary actions.
Knowing this, we can see why it’s important to question our beliefs in certain situations.
I’ve always believed that intuition holds some sort of power, now I’m not so sure.
I would love to hear what others think about these ideas. Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
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