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Fast and Slow Thinking In Psychology The Differences and Relationships of Intuition and Reasoning

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

System 1 or Fast Thinking

Everyone has bills to pay and jobs that demand their attention, all too often people find themselves with a call or text from their boss asking them to come in for work. Recently my boss asked me to come into the shop to work the front desk and I immediately answered “Yes” without thinking through the implications of school work and other life responsibilities. After sending the message off via text, about 30 minutes later the realities of homework and other obligations started to weigh on my mental state. The impulse to immediately respond to my boss was playing into “fast thinking”, while trying to appease a superiors request. All too often do we find ourselves in situations where people that have authority over us put pressure or extra responsibility and our fast thinking to appease authority kicks in to relieve this tension and pressure. In this specific situation I used fast thinking, or intuitive thinking (system 1) without weighing the costs of going into to work. The fast thinking was to relieve any type of pressure or disappointment from my boss. I think that I used fast thinking when I got asked to come in because in work environments people are trained and tempered to listen to the “higher ups”, even if the tasks and jobs don’t suit our ethical or better good of ourselves. When we are trained to appease our bosses, this causes our “intuitive network” to quickly jump when asked to do a task. Work also can cause the “fight or flight” instinct, since living in a capitalistic economic structure dominates our survival in the modern age. “Fight or Flight” instinct is probably related to the intuition or “fast thinking” because when our bodily or psychological organism is threatened “fast thinking” is crucial to preserve our being. When any type of circumstance could possibly “upset” our work life the human psyche kicks into over drive because it has been trained that monetary work is the means of preserving our physical well-being. If I had another opportunity to relive this situation, I probably would have thought about the extra hours a bit longer and reasoned with my boss saying that I was preoccupied with homework and other life tasks.

Slow thinking

Slow thinking is basically the conduction of reasoning skills or controlled processing according to the video. In school reasoning is probably one of the most advantageous mechanisms towards understanding and implementing material in assignments. Currently as I am writing this small discussion, I am actively using my slow thinking to organize and execute my mental processes into thought forms words on this screen. Yes, while typing is an “automatic process”, the cognitive awareness of what to write is a controlled and reasoned through awareness. As Kanhman said in the video, neither system 1 or system 2 exist, but rather coincide in unity with each other to create cognition. Even the book hinted at this exact “back and forth” or volley of the controlled and automatic processes earlier in the semester. Another situation that I use my reasoning skills is in my daily meditation practice when I observe a specific passage of a book, or some symbolic imagery. My mind oscillates over and over the image or set of words and relays any relationships to any other knowledge that I have associated with the topic or image. While doing this, my mind is reasoning and concentrating through the passages or symbols deepest meanings in a controlled way.

Reasoning or Intuition
Reasoning or Intuition

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