The Study Dude – Thinking Fast and Slow

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to use your critical thinking to cater human behaviour to the utmost of positive outcomes.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

Today’s study tips are based on a reading of Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. The critical thinking analysis in this book will be divided into a three part series. Welcome to part one of the Study Dude’s dissection of that ever-perplexing construct, critical thinking.

System 1 Versus System 2 Thinking
Let’s face it. There are two kinds of thinking: system 1, which is emotional, intuitive, involuntary thinking versus system 2, which is slow, deliberate, deep thinking (Kahneman, 2011). It’s the difference between answering what 2+2 is (system 1) versus 57 X 86 (system 2) (Kahneman, 2011). Yet, one form of thinking is not necessarily better than the other, as the emotional thinking can yield a relatively high degree of accuracy, just as the slow deliberate thinking can oftentimes be in lazy mode–and the two types of thinking often work in tandem with one another (Kahneman, 2011).

So, to launch the series on critical thinking it is essential to know the difference but what is, respectively, referred to as System 1 and System 2 thinking.

Here is a breakdown of what constitutes System 1:
– effortless impressions and feelings
– free-wheeling impulses and associations
– automatic, intuitive thinking
– example of system 1: “orient to the source of a sudden sound” (p. 21)
– another example of system 1: “understand simple sentences” (p. 21)
– yet one more example of system 1: “make a ?disgust face? when shown a horrible picture” (p. 21)
(Kahneman, 2011)

Here is another breakdown, this time of what constitutes System 2:
– strain, burden on memory, deliberate, effortful, orderly thinking
– muscles tense, blood pressure high, heart rate rapid, and pupils dilated
– example of system 2: “focus on the voice of a particular person in a crowded and noisy room” (p. 22)
– another example of system 2: “monitor the appropriateness of your behavior in a social situation” (p. 22)
– yet one more example of system 2: “fill out a tax form” (p. 22)
(Kahneman, 2011)

Write a Persuasive Message
There is a little notion called “cognitive ease” that has impacts you can incorporate in essay papers, public speeches, sales pitches, and creative design. Cognitive ease not only feels good, but the messages conveyed when we don’t have to think in depth also seem to be more true and even more familiar.

Here’s how to leverage this System 1 type of thinking, cognitive ease, in writing persuasive messages and in influencing others:

– Repeat falsehoods to get people to believe them (not a recommended strategy for engaging in any kind of ethical conduct, which should be all conduct.)
– Familiarity with an incomplete sentence makes all other sentences that randomly complete that sentence seem true.
– The more legible and clear something is, the more we are likely to believe it.
– We are more likely to believe things printed on high-quality paper.
– We are more likely to believe information printed in bright blue or red as opposed to “middling shades of green, yellow, or pale blue” (p. 63)
– Using complex, pretentious language for familiar ideas makes us seem a little dimwitted, so use simpler language versus complex language
– Make the idea memorable by putting the message into verse or giving it a rhyme. People are more likely to believe an aphorism is more insightful when it rhymes (for example, “woes unite foes” (p. 63).
– Choose names that are easier to pronounce.
(Kahneman, 2011)

Halo Effect
The Study Dude loves you, the reader, and thinks there is nothing at all out of step with you, and everything about you is gold. That’s the halo effect in action. I can make further inferences about you, and assume that you are kind, generous, and warm-hearted, and if you, by some odd chance, don’t possess all of these traits, then, hey, maybe That’s normal. Yet, the halo effect would dictate otherwise.

Here are some of the characteristics of the halo effect, a System 1 type of thinking:

– You either like or dislike everything about a person.
– If you like someone, you might even more readily conclude that they have other positive traits, such as generosity, whether or not this has been shown to be true.
– If you hear traits about someone listed with the positive words before you hear negative traits, you are more likely to have a more favourable impression of the person; conversely, if you hear the same traits, but with the negative ones listed first, your opinion will be less positive.
– If three positive words are introduced about the traits of someone, and then three negative words are said to describe the same person, people often think it is impossible for the negative words to describe the same person when the positive traits were first listed.
– In other words, the weight of first impressions in contributing to the halo effect is huge.
– Kahneman noticed that if he marked an essay favourably for a student, he was inclined to mark the second paper high, even if it was poor. (That’s the power of first impressions!)
(Kahneman, 2011)

You can use this in your work by taking extra time with your introduction to make sure It’s insightful and memorable. Give your marker a favourable first impression to carry through the rest of your assignment.

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

Kahneman, Daniel. (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow. Canada. Anchor Canada.

%d bloggers like this: