Thinking, fast and slow cami rebollo

Roughly 3 years ago I was spending time on a winter evening with a friend from college. We had nowhere pressing to be, and popped in a Barnes and Noble bookstore to each pick a book to read. She picked a thriller mystery novel and I purchased Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. There was no particular reason why I picked it other than it interested me and I wanted to learn more about it- for fun! Over the following days, I read the first few chapters as one does when they step out of Barnes and Noble with a new book in hand, but truthfully I never finished it. Life got busier and my book took its place on the bottom of my To-Do list.

This summer, I am currently wrapping up a Cognitive Psychology class that I have found to be very interesting.


I enrolled in this class because I am interested in the mental processes that occur in the brain such as memory, pattern recognition, and thinking. I enrolled in the class and soon found out one of the assignments was to pick a book and analyze it, and one of the choices of cognitive psychology books to choose from was Dr. Kahneman’s book. I was surprised, because I had not thought about Dr. Kahneman’s piece as a cognitive psychology book before, but then was amused that I was interested in the book years ago and then signed up for the class, when it had nothing to do with my Biology major. I was coincidentally steering myself in the direction to keep learning about cognitive psychology. I eagerly found my book once more and set out to read 20 pages each day in order to finish it by the time the class was over. About the Author

While reading the introduction of the book, I realized that the author, Daniel Kahneman, is a “big deal” in the area of behavioral economics. Through his research with his colleague Amos Tversky, he published “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” and won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for it. The published work is applying psychological insights to economic theory: the theory of choice and is one of the foundations of behavioral economics. They thoroughly test and discuss faulty intuition and how it relates to statistics. Over time, he has continued advancing and studying the way humans make decisions and overall think. Here you can find a Ted talk in which he discusses memory. Something I find unique about Dr. Kahneman is that he wrote fondly about his deep collaboration with colleague Amos and how much he enjoyed doing research with him. Although Amos did not live to receive the Nobel Prize alongside Dr. Kahneman, Dr. Kahneman calls for academic collaboration. I was surprised of this attitude from an economist who has also advised on financial health and stocks.

Part 1 is about a two-system approach to judgement and choice, famously known as System 1 and System 2. System 1 is automatic, intuitive, and quick, while System 2 is controlled and thought out. Everyone has both systems, and they work together when one makes judgements and decisions. Dr. Kahneman’s aim in Part 1 is to breakdown many of the processes that are believed to be automatic.

Part 3 dives into overconfidence of what we (humans) believe we know. This section is interesting as it explains how uncertain the world is, therefore contributing to how we think we know more than we do. Dr. Kahneman attributes most of the things that we believe to know are due to chance rather than knowledge. This is an interesting, twisted theme as the research and supportive anecdotes teach us how much we do not know.

Part 4 includes prospect theory, Amos and Dr. Kahneman’s research. Dr. Kahneman explains statistics and decision making. When humans make important decisions, say, ones that have to do with money, we tend to try our best to be rational. Here, Dr. Kahneman disproves the ever-seeming rational economics. This can be related to the overconfidence theory in which we believe we know more-and the thought of economics and chance.

Part 5 explains the experiencing self and the remembering self. The two selves have different desires and Dr. Kahneman expresses shock that two selves can live within a single body. This part explores pain due to the different desires between both selves, and the thought of well-being despite these two. For a summary of each chapter, please see the following review: review: https://erikreads.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/thinking-fast-and-slow-book-summary.pdf

The author approaches the topic of intuition in a rigorous way. From cover to cover, it is evident that this is a book of nearly a lifetime of research. Each new theory or idea that is proposed is explained by scenarios, descriptions of studies, or cognitive assessments for the reader. Personally, this made the book a challenging read, because there were lots of variables working together at once. For example, ??. I would say that the book is challenging for someone who took this class because throughout the semester we learn enough to understand the book, yet perhaps do not know enough as it is read.

After reading this book, I feel like I have been made aware of theories for processes that prior to reading this book, I felt were automatic, or I did not think twice about. A simple example of this is the way System 1 and 2 collaborate. Dr. Kahneman explains things such as the speed at which people answer questions of their daily life to the function relating psychological intensity to the physical magnitude for the stimulus. In addition, I think that in life this book has helped me with the way I view things because I am naturally an over-thinker, over-analyzer (which may explain why I wanted to read this book for fun) and I always want to know the why behind things that catch my interest. The statement “nothing is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it”

I believe one of the biggest take aways I have from reading and analyzing this novel is that humans, in every moment, are influenced by many variables – their environment, mood, even the thought at hand influences the action. Dr. Kahneman set out to analyze intuition and why humans make mistakes and after reading his explanations through research and thinking over certain topics, I realize that in an ever-changing world, with evolving humans and working minds, it is difficult to find a constant. Intuitions may be influenced and influential, as they may be wrong and fleeting. This is why the next step is to study why intuition is such and what controls this.

Lastly, in conclusion of the book, Dr. Kahneman reveals that the the intuitive System 1 which does the fast thinking is representative of the fictitious Econs that live in the land of theory, and System 2-the effortful, slower system that monitors System 1 and maintains control are the Humans who live in the real world… The living self vs. the remembering self.