Reacting versus Thinking


Reacting versus Thinking

Dr. Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in EcoThinking Fast and Slownomic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making.


Much economic theory, similar to our system of justice, has in great part prided itself on the assumption that people behave rationally. Dr. Kahneman has been punching holes in that notion for several decades.   


The same assumption of rational juror behavior by the legal system has created a conundrum for attorneys and judges alike.


Dr. Kahneman, along with his long-term colleague Amos Tversky (who died a short time ago), has produced a body of work which has served almost as a bible for trial consultants in helping to understand, predict and then strategically respond to juror biases.


In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Dr. Kahneman examines the psychological duality of the Dr. Watson (intuitive reaction) versus Sherlock Holmes (focused thinking) nature of the human information processing and decision making.


Dr. Kahneman posits two cognitive systems, System 1, fast, and System 2, slow.


System 1 is largely unconscious process and it makes snap judgments based upon our experiences and associated emotions.


System 2 is often excruciatingly slow, and is the process by which we consciously try to solve problems.


Unfortunately, System 2 is difficult to engage and easily distracted, and System 1 is prone to misleading biases.


The gist is that we are both benefited and victimized by our life experience and learning as the mind develops "shortcuts" (heuristics) to deal with new information.  I will discuss many of these shortcuts such as "availability," "representativeness" and "anchor and adjustment" in future newsletters.


In the meantime, please consider adding Dr. Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow to your library.