See Also: Book Notes, Consciousness: Confessions, Blank Slate, Info Viz & Perception, On Intelligence, The Quest for Consciousness, The Stuff of Thought, Neuroscience of Human Relationships, Human: Makes Us Unique

Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; (October 25, 2011), ISBN-13: 978-0374275631 - 500+ pages, 418 text, 30 pages Appendix (original research papers), 31 pages chapter notes, and 15 pages of index.

Characteristics of System 1

Daniel Kahneman gives us a cheat sheet for System 1 on page 105. This is as it appears, with only page numbers added.

- generates impressions, feelings, and inclinations; when endorsed by System 2 these become beliefs, attitudes, and intentions
- operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control
- can be programmed by System 2 to mobilize attention when a particular pattern is detected (search)
- executes skilled responses and generates skilled intuitions, after adequate training
- creates a coherent pattern of activated ideas in associative memory
- links a sense of cognitive ease to illusions of truth, pleasant feelings: and reduced vigilance
- distinguishes the surprising from the normal
- infers and invents causes and intentions
- neglects ambiguity and suppresses doubt
- is biased to believe and confirm
- exaggerates emotional consistency (halo effect)
- focuses on existing evidence and ignores absent evidence (WYSIATI)
- generates a limited set of basic assessments
- represents sets by norms and prototypes, does not integrate
- matches intensities across scales (e.g., size to loudness)
- computes more than intended (mental shotgun)
- sometimes substitutes an easier question for a difficult one (heuristics)
- is more sensitive to changes than to states (prospect theory)*
- overweights low probabilities*
- shows diminishing sensitivity to quantity (psychophysics)*
- responds more strongly to losses than to gains (loss aversion)*
- frames decision problems narrowly, in isolation from one another*

Wikipedia: Thinking, Fast and Slow contains notes on many of the interesting concepts, but there are a few more that should be addressed:
cognitive ease - things that don't make you think, feel true. Chapter 5.
duration neglect + peak end (all is well that ends well)
priming p.371
p.23 different tasks, different engines
p.40 Csikszentmihalyi, pronounced "six-cent-mihaly"
p.53 Florida effect - priming

Three simple puzzles - examples where system 1 gives you an intuitive answer:

A ball and a bat cost $1.10.
The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?

If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
100 minutes OR 5 minutes?

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Everyday, the patch doubles in size.
If it takes 48 days for it to cover the whole lake, how long would it take to cover 1/2 the lake?
24 days or 47 days?

p.65 - 90% of Princeton undergrads made at least one mistake in the above questions. System 1 serves up an answer, and if you do not check it, it becomes your answer. However, if the above problems are presented with a small washed out font - that causes cognitive strain - then only 35% of the students make a mistake.

Given all of this, Kahneman and Amos Tversky developed Prospect Theory how our biases influence our decisions.

The last part of the book deals with life satisfaction - our experiencing self vs. our remembering self.
Peak End Rule = we remember the peak and the end and forget the duration.

This is a great book!!!

Ben Rubin inscribed my copy: To a fellow standing wave in the river of Kronos who enjoys thinking about thinking. (+/-)
And Sundance said to Butch , "You just keep thinking Butch, thats what you're good at"

2012.09.06 jch


Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, 2008

This book's first chapters cover the same research and ground as TFAS - System 1 and System 2 and much of the book contains observations about policy decisions that would make the world a better place, so, I'm just tucking a few notes on the TFAS page. The In essence, a nudge is a way to convince system 2 to do something. System 2, is known as the Elephant in Haidt's Rider and Elephant Metaphor. In this book, other pairing terms are The Planner and the Doer, The Automatic System and the Reflective System. The terms Econs and Humans are used in this book. Econs are perfectly rational decision makers.

Libertarian Paternalism is the core concept of the book. Do not take options away from people, just arrange the options such that the "right" options are easier to select.

Choice Architect - anytime you offer someone a choice, there are ways in which you favor one choice or another - intended or unintended.
- for example, the percentage of people who never change any defaults in their cell phone is huge! I cannot find the page, but it was something like 70% or maybe it was 140% :-)
- default choices have huge effects on people lives when they are about retirement accounts or health care policies.
- the "opt in" vs. "opt out" of organ donation is astounding hen you compare differing countries policies. Basically, hard decisions are avoided, so…
So, the key questions for looking at the ramifications of a choice architecture are: Who uses, Who chooses, Who pays and Who profits.

When do we need a nudge: Benefits Now with Costs Later, Complex Choices, Infrequent Choices, Hidden Costs.

Fun examples: Men's urinals in Schipol airport, if they etch a fly into the urinal, men aim at it - dramatically reducing "spillage"

More details summary of the book:

2014.01.11 jch