Kahneman Says “Intuitive Thinking” Is “the Origin of Most of What We Do Right–Which Is Most of What We Do”

(p. 415) The investment of attention improves, performance in numerous activities–think of the risks of driving through a narrow space while your mind is wandering-and is essential to some tasks, including comparison, choice, and ordered reasoning. However, System 2 is not a paragon of rationality. Its abilities are limited and so is the knowledge to which it has access. We do not always think straight when we reason, and the errors are not always due to intrusive and incorrect intuitions. Often we make mistakes because we (our System 2) do not know any better.
I have spent more time describing System 1, and have devoted many (p. 416) pages to errors of intuitive judgment and choice that I attribute to it. However, the relative number of pages is a poor indicator of the balance between the marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking. System 1 is indeed the origin of much that we do wrong, but it is also the origin of most of what we do right–which is most of what we do. Our thoughts and actions are routinely guided by System 1 and generally are on the mark. One of the marvels is the rich and detailed model of our world that is maintained in associative memory: it distinguishes surprising from normal events in a fraction of a second, immediately generates an idea of what was expected instead of a surprise, and automatically searches for some causal interpretation of surprises and of events as they take place.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

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