Thinking Fast & Slow…or Not at All

I’ve been reading Michael Lewis’ The Undoing Project, 30334134

which is about the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, two Israeli psychologists who earned world renown in economics, of all things. I’m also reading Daniel Kahneman’s own book, Thinking Fast & Slow.11468377  I’m not normally inclined to read books that don’t involve history, culture, travel, or dogs, (or best of all, a combination of those things) but surprisingly, psychology allows some greater understanding of all of those things that interest me.

Thinking fast, the decisions we make intuitively, like holding on to the dog leash when thinking slow would allow you to arrive at the better decision (to let go), are explained as two separate functions of the human brain. We all do it and we all make flawed choices based on too little information. Both functions of the brain are essential to our survival. Clearly, some fast thinking results in a good outcome.

The thing that continues to astound me is how many people use the intuitive part of their brain to make decisions when they have plenty of time to gather enough information to make a more reasoned decision. That’s the lazy part of the human brain. It’s just easier to feel that something is true than it is to research and evaluate.  Somehow, it feels good to reaffirm something we want to believe even if there is evidence available to us that contradicts our position.

I’m looking ahead wondering what will be gained, and what will the costs be, of having someone who relies heavily on intuition to make decisions that would benefit from more critical evaluation, in the White House. Only time will tell.

Image result for donald trump immigration cartoons

14 thoughts on “Thinking Fast & Slow…or Not at All

  1. I heard an editorial, a podcast, I think it was, saying that fast thinking is responsible for the errors we’re making with respect to the climate. In fifty years New York City and Washington DC will be entirely submerged, but it’s happening too slowly to notice.

    I believe Drumpf has a different sort of mental defect, namely, the failure to form adult attachments in his adolescent years. It is too much for anyone to overcome. His dad kicked him out of the house at age thirteen for being a little insufferable shit and shipped him to a military school.

    Will the Presidency be therapy for his personality disorder? Um. It didn’t cure Stalin.


    1. I hate to imagine what Europeans must think about a country where a such a man could be elected to the presidency. When we were children, we were taught that anyone could grow up to be president in our (theoretically) egalitarian society. I don’t think our teachers could have envisioned this scenario.


  2. i re-read your excellent post, Judy . Last July 14 in France was national Day ( Bastille Day ) . The president of the USA was there , invited by the French President to commemorate the arrival of the US troups in 1917, one hundred years ago to fight at the side of France .
    The French Republic motto is ” Liberté, Egalité , Fraternité ” .
    Love ❤


    1. Yes, our “fake” news covered his visit extensively. I admit, they didn’t cast him in a very good light, playing video of him making embarrassingly sexist remarks and generally sounding quite inarticulate.
      Surely they could have found clips of him saying something intelligent, or if not, at least simply listening attentively to President Macron, who seems to be well spoken. Of course, not speaking French, I could be completely wrong 🙂


  3. The French president tried to soften the American president when he came in Paris . Not sure he succeeded to convince him especially about the orientations taken in Paris about the climate ??
    BTW , thanks for your very kind comment , Judy ( about the birth of our great grandson )
    Love ❤


  4. RYC : I smilesd at reading your comment about the work of maintaining a house and I imagine the scenario : young couples occupying your home . They love the modern style : furnitures at the minimal and painting walls in black and white !!! 🙂 I understand your husband Judy.!
    Love ❤


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