Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

the availability heuristic helps explain why some issues are highly salient in the public’s mind while others are neglected. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Frequently mentioned topics populate the mind even as others slip away from awareness. In turn, what the media choose to report corresponds to their view of what is currently on the public’s mind. It is no accident that authoritarian regimes exert substantial pressure on independent media. Because public interest is most easily aroused by dramatic events and by celebrities, media feeding frenzies are common. For several weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, for example, it was virtually impossible to find a television channel reporting on another topic. In contrast, there is little coverage of critical but unexciting issues that provide less drama, such as declining educational standards or overinvestment of medical resources in the last year of (Location 192)

Note: people assess the importance of a topic based on how readily they can recall it from memory. the media thus has large influence on what people perceive to be important

“The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.” (Location 253)

Note: intuition is nothing more than recognition and an ability to retrieve information from memory

When confronted with a problem—choosing a chess move or deciding whether to invest in a stock—the machinery of intuitive thought does the best it can. If the individual has relevant expertise, she will recognize the situation, and the intuitive solution that comes to her mind is likely to be correct. This is what happens when a chess master looks at a complex position: the few moves that immediately occur to him are all strong. When the question is difficult and a skilled solution is not available, intuition still has a shot: an answer may come to mind quickly—but it is not an answer to the original question. The question that the executive faced (should I invest in Ford stock?) was difficult, but the answer to an easier and related question (do I like Ford cars?) came readily to his mind and determined his choice. This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution (Location 270)

Note: when faced with a difficult question we often answer an easier one instead swithout even realising. this is called the intuitive heuristic

The often-used phrase “pay attention” is apt: you dispose of a limited budget of attention that you can allocate to activities, and if you try to go beyond your budget, you will fail. It is the mark of effortful activities that they interfere with each other, which is why it is difficult or impossible to conduct several at once. You could not compute the product of 17 × 24 while making a left turn into dense traffic, and you certainly should not try. You can do several things at once, but only if they are easy and undemanding. (Location 392)

Tags: attention

Note: we have a limited amount of attention and struggle to multi task

The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness. (Location 409)

Note: we can be blind to our own blindness

One of the tasks of System 2 is to overcome the impulses of System 1. In other words, System 2 is in charge of self-control. (Location 451)

Constantly questioning our own thinking would be impossibly tedious, and System 2 is much too slow and inefficient to serve as a substitute for System 1 in making routine decisions. The best we can do is a compromise: learn to recognize situations in which mistakes are likely and try harder to avoid significant mistakes when the stakes are high. (Location 482)

Note: recognise situations where you are more likely too make an error

The mind—especially System 1—appears to have a special aptitude for the construction and interpretation of stories about active agents, who have personalities, habits, and abilities. You quickly formed a bad opinion of the thieving butler, you expect more bad behavior from him, and you will remember him for a while. This is also my hope for the language of systems. (Location 504)

Tags: stories

People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations. (Location 708)

Baumeister’s group has repeatedly found that an effort of will or self-control is tiring; if you have had to force yourself to do something, you are less willing or less able to exert self-control when the next challenge comes around. The phenomenon has been named ego depletion. In a typical demonstration, participants who are instructed to stifle their emotional reaction to an emotionally charged film will later perform poorly on a test of physical stamina—how long they can maintain a strong grip on a dynamometer in spite of increasing discomfort. The emotional effort in the first phase of the experiment reduces the ability to withstand the pain of sustained muscle contraction, and ego-depleted people therefore succumb more quickly to the urge to quit. In another experiment, people are first depleted by a task in which they eat virtuous foods such as radishes and celery while resisting the temptation to indulge in chocolate and rich cookies. Later, these people will give up earlier than normal when faced with a difficult cognitive task. (Location 717)

Note: we have limited attention resources which are shared by cognitive,physical and emotional tasks

The nervous system consumes more glucose than most other parts of the body, and effortful mental activity appears to be especially expensive in the currency of glucose. When you are actively involved in difficult cognitive reasoning or engaged in a task that requires self-control, your blood glucose level drops. The effect is analogous to a runner who draws down glucose stored in her muscles during a sprint. The bold implication of this idea is that the effects of ego depletion could be undone by ingesting glucose, and Baumeister and his colleagues have confirmed this hypothesis in several experiments. (Location 738)

Note: effortful mental activities use glucose stores

many people are overconfident, prone to place too much faith in their intuitions. They apparently find cognitive effort at least mildly unpleasant and avoid it as much as possible. (Location 781)

Note: people are over confident in the accuracy of their intuitions

Intelligence is not only the ability to reason; it is also the ability to find relevant material in memory and to deploy attention when needed. (Location 806)

This remarkable priming phenomenon—the influencing of an action by the idea—is known as the ideomotor effect. (Location 945)

you experience greater cognitive ease in perceiving a word you have seen earlier, and it is this sense of ease that gives you the impression of familiarity (Location 1081)

A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. (Location 1104)

Note: frequent repitition can make people believe in falsehoods

In addition to making your message simple, try to make it memorable. Put your ideas in verse if you can; they will be more likely to be taken as truth. Participants in a much cited experiment read dozens of unfamiliar aphorisms, such as: Woes unite foes. Little strokes will tumble great oaks. A fault confessed is half redressed. (Location 1125)

Tags: rhyme

Note: by making your message rhyme it is more memorable

Zajonc argued that the effect of repetition on liking is a profoundly important biological fact, and that it extends to all animals. To survive in a frequently dangerous world, an organism should react cautiously to a novel stimulus, with withdrawal and fear. Survival prospects are poor for an animal that is not suspicious of novelty. However, it is also adaptive for the initial caution to fade if the stimulus is actually safe. The mere exposure effect occurs, Zajonc claimed, because the repeated exposure of a stimulus is followed by nothing bad. Such a stimulus will eventually become a safety signal, and safety is good. (Location 1200)

Note: we grow to like things more with increased exposure

Mood evidently affects the operation of System 1: when we are uncomfortable and unhappy, we lose touch with our intuition. (Location 1239)

Note: being happier increases our intuition

Jumping to conclusions is efficient if the conclusions are likely to be correct and the costs of an occasional mistake acceptable, and if the jump saves much time and effort. Jumping to conclusions is risky when the situation is unfamiliar, the stakes are high, and there is no time to collect more information. These are the circumstances in which intuitive errors are probable, which may be prevented by a deliberate intervention of System 2. (Location 1418)

Note: there are times when jumping to conclusions makes sense. if the probability of being correct is high,the cost of being wrong is low and it saves time and effort

When uncertain, System 1 bets on an answer, and the bets are guided by experience. The rules of the betting are intelligent: recent events and the current context have the most weight in determining an interpretation. (Location 1434)

when System 2 is otherwise engaged, we will believe almost anything. System 1 is gullible and biased to believe, System 2 is in charge of doubting and unbelieving, but System 2 is sometimes busy, and often lazy. Indeed, there is evidence that people are more likely to be influenced by empty persuasive messages, such as commercials, when they are tired and depleted. (Location 1453)

Note: system one is gullible aand biased to believe. system two interrogates to see if true, but when you are tired or occupied it cant perform a well

The operations of associative memory contribute to a general confirmation bias. When asked, “Is Sam friendly?” different instances of Sam’s behavior will come to mind than would if you had been asked “Is Sam unfriendly?” A deliberate search for confirming evidence, known as positive test strategy, is also how System 2 tests a hypothesis. (Location 1456)

If you like the president’s politics, you probably like his voice and his appearance as well. The tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person—including things you have not observed—is known as the halo effect. (Location 1464)

Note: if you like one tbhing about a person you may then be more likely to like everything about them

The principle of independent judgments (and decorrelated errors) has immediate applications for the conduct of meetings, an activity in which executives in organizations spend a great deal of their working days. A simple rule can help: before an issue is discussed, all members of the committee should be asked to write a very brief summary of their position. This procedure makes good use of the value of the diversity of knowledge and opinion in the group. The standard practice of open discussion gives too much weight to the opinions of those who speak early and assertively, causing others to line up behind them. (Location 1525)

Tags: meetings, favorite

Note: When in a group setting everyone should write down their own views before discussing as a group

is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern. (Location 1572)

The technical definition of heuristic is a simple procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions. (Location 1748)

Characteristics of System 1 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 (Location 1868)

We started from a fact that calls for a cause: the incidence of kidney cancer varies widely across counties and the differences are systematic. The explanation I offered is statistical: extreme outcomes (both high and low) are more likely to be found in small than in large samples. This explanation is not causal. The small population of a county neither causes nor prevents cancer; it merely allows the incidence of cancer to be much higher (or much lower) than it is in the larger population. The deeper truth is that there is nothing to explain. (Location 1921)

Note: extreme outcomes are more likely to be found in smll samples

People adjust less (stay closer to the anchor) when their mental resources are depleted, either because their memory is loaded with digits or because they are slightly drunk. Insufficient adjustment is a failure of a weak or lazy System 2. (Location 2126)

Note: people adjust the annchor less when their energy is depleted

Anchoring effects explain why, for example, arbitrary rationing is an effective marketing ploy. A few years ago, supermarket shoppers in Sioux City, Iowa, encountered a sales promotion for Campbell’s soup at about 10% off the regular price. On some days, a sign on the shelf said LIMIT OF 12 PER PERSON. On other days, the sign said NO LIMIT PER PERSON. Shoppers purchased an average of 7 cans when the limit was in force, twice as many as they bought when the limit was removed. Anchoring is not the sole explanation. Rationing also implies that the goods are flying off the shelves, and shoppers should feel some urgency about stocking up. But we also know that the mention of 12 cans as a possible purchase would produce anchoring even if the number were produced by a roulette wheel. (Location 2213)

Note: arbitary rationong can be used to increase sales. eg. limit of 12 canns per person increased average number o cans bought

We defined the availability heuristic as the process of judging frequency by “the ease with which instances come to mind.” (Location 2277)

Note: we determine the availability of something by how easily we an recall an example

The availability heuristic, like other heuristics of judgment, substitutes one question for another: you wish to estimate the size of a category or the frequency of an event, but you report an impression of the ease with which instances come to mind. (Location 2288)

Tags: cognitive, psychology tricks, favorite

Imagine that you had been asked for twelve instances of assertive behavior (a number most people find difficult). Would your view of your own assertiveness be different? Schwarz and his colleagues observed that the task of listing instances may enhance the judgments of the trait by two different routes: the number of instances retrieved the ease with which they come to mind The request to list twelve instances pits the two determinants against each other. On the one hand, you have just retrieved an impressive number of cases in which you were assertive. On the other hand, while the first three or four instances of your own assertiveness probably came easily to you, you almost certainly struggled to come up with the last few to complete a set of twelve; fluency was low. Which will count more—the amount retrieved or the ease and fluency of the retrieval? The contest yielded a clear-cut winner: people who had just listed twelve instances rated themselves as less assertive than people who had listed only six. Furthermore, participants who had been asked to list twelve cases in which they had not behaved assertively ended up thinking of themselves as quite assertive! If you cannot easily come up with instances of meek behavior, you are likely to conclude that you are not meek at all. Self-ratings were dominated by the ease with which examples had come to mind. The experience of fluent retrieval of instances trumped the number retrieved. (Location 2323)

Note: the ease of retrieval is more important than the frequency when influencing the availibility bias

Psychologists enjoy experiments that yield paradoxical results, and they have applied Schwarz’s discovery with gusto. For example, people: believe that they use their bicycles less often after recalling many rather than few instances are less confident in a choice when they are asked to produce more arguments to support it are less confident that an event was avoidable after listing more ways it could have been avoided are less impressed by a car after listing many of its advantages A professor at UCLA found an ingenious way to exploit the availability bias. He asked different groups of students to list ways to improve the course, and he varied the required number of improvements. As expected, the students who listed more ways to improve the class rated it higher! (Location 2340)

estimates of causes of death are warped by media coverage. The coverage is itself biased toward novelty and poignancy. The media do not just shape what the public is interested in, but also are shaped by it. Editors cannot ignore the public’s demands that certain topics and viewpoints receive extensive coverage. Unusual events (such as botulism) attract disproportionate attention and are consequently perceived as less unusual than they really are. The world in our heads is not a precise replica of reality; our expectations about the frequency of events are distorted by the prevalence and emotional intensity of the messages to which we are exposed. (Location 2427)

Note: the media coverage is skewed towards novelty and thus increases our perception of how frequently rare incidents actually occur

An availability cascade is a self-sustaining chain of events, which may start from media reports of a relatively minor event and lead up to public panic and large-scale government action. On some occasions, a media story about a risk catches the attention of a segment of the public, which becomes aroused and worried. This emotional reaction becomes a story in itself, prompting additional coverage in the media, which in turn produces greater concern and involvement. The cycle is sometimes sped along deliberately by “availability entrepreneurs,” individuals or organizations who work to ensure a continuous flow of worrying news. The danger is increasingly exaggerated as the media compete for attention-grabbing headlines. Scientists and others who try to dampen the increasing fear and revulsion attract little attention, most of it hostile: anyone who claims that the danger is overstated is suspected of association with a “heinous cover-up.” The issue becomes politically important because it is on everyone’s mind, and the response of the political system is guided by the intensity of public sentiment. The availability cascade has now reset priorities. Other risks, and other ways that resources could be applied for the public good, all have faded into the background. (Location 2503)

The essential keys to disciplined Bayesian reasoning can be simply summarized: Anchor your judgment of the probability of an outcome on a plausible base rate. Question the diagnosticity of your evidence. Both ideas are straightforward. It came as a shock to me when I realized that I was never taught how to implement them, and that even now I find it unnatural to do (Location 2724)

Note: baysian statistics - update your views in light of new evidence

The judgments of probability that our respondents offered, in both the Tom W and Linda problems, corresponded precisely to judgments of representativeness (similarity to stereotypes). Representativeness belongs to a cluster of closely related basic assessments that are likely to be generated together. The most representative outcomes combine with the personality description to produce the most coherent stories. The most coherent stories are not necessarily the most probable, but they are plausible, and the notions of coherence, plausibility, and probability are easily confused by the unwary. (Location 2804)

success = talent + luck great success = a little more talent + a lot of luck (Location 3135)

My students were always surprised to hear that the best predicted performance on day 2 is more moderate, closer to the average than the evidence on which it is based (the score on day 1). This is why the pattern is called regression to the mean. The more extreme the original score, the more regression we expect, because an extremely good score suggests a very lucky day. The regressive prediction is reasonable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. A few of the golfers who scored 66 on day 1 will do even better on the second day, if their luck improves. Most will do worse, because their luck will no longer be above average. (Location 3160)

Note: the more extreme the score the more regression to the mean

Intuitive predictions need to be corrected because they are not regressive and therefore are biased. Suppose that I predict for each golfer in a tournament that his score on day 2 will be the same as his score on day 1. This prediction does not allow for regression to the mean: the golfers who fared well on day 1 will on average do less well on day 2, and those who did poorly will mostly improve. When they are eventually compared to actual outcomes, nonregressive predictions will be found to be biased. They are on average overly optimistic for those who did best on (Location 3395)

Note: intuitive predictions need to be adjusted as they do not factor in regression to the mean

we humans constantly fool ourselves by constructing flimsy accounts of the past and believing they are true. (Location 3490)

The halo effect discussed earlier contributes to coherence, because it inclines us to match our view of all the qualities of a person to our judgment of one attribute that is particularly significant. If we think a baseball pitcher is handsome and athletic, for example, we are likely to rate him better at throwing the ball, too. Halos can also be negative: if we think a player is ugly, we will probably underrate his athletic ability. (Location 3493)

Tags: newsletter, heuristics

Note: the halo effect causes us to match our complete assesment of a person to our assesment of a few traits

people are often reluctant to infer the particular from the general. (Location 3729)

Complexity may work in the odd case, but more often than not it reduces validity. Simple combinations of features are better. Several studies have shown that human decision makers are inferior to a prediction formula even when they are given the score suggested by the formula! They feel that they can overrule the formula because they have additional information about the case, but they are wrong more often than not. (Location 3951)

Note: Complexity can redue the accuracy of predictions. Keep things simple

In a memorable example, Dawes showed that marital stability is well predicted by a formula: frequency of lovemaking minus frequency of quarrels You don’t want your result to be a negative number. (Location 3992)

Suppose that you need to hire a sales representative for your firm. If you are serious about hiring the best possible person for the job, this is what you should do. First, select a few traits that are prerequisites for success in this position (technical proficiency, engaging personality, reliability, and so on). Don’t overdo it—six dimensions is a good number. The traits you choose should be as independent as possible from each other, and you should feel that you can assess them reliably by asking a few factual questions. Next, make a list of those questions for each trait and think about how you will score it, say on a 1–5 scale. You should have an idea of what you will call “very weak” or “very strong.” These preparations should take you half an hour or so, a small investment that can make a significant difference in the quality of the people you hire. To avoid halo effects, you must collect the information on one trait at a time, scoring each before you move on to the next one. Do not skip around. To evaluate each candidate, add up the six scores. Because you are in charge of the final decision, you should not do a “close your eyes.” (Location 4107)

Note: Template to hire new staff

“The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition (Location 4183)

Earlier I traced people’s confidence in a belief to two related impressions: cognitive ease and coherence. We are confident when the story we tell ourselves comes easily to mind, with no contradiction and no competing scenario. But ease and coherence do not guarantee that a belief held with confidence is true. The associative machine is set to suppress doubt and to evoke ideas and information that are compatible with the currently dominant story. A mind that follows WY SIATI will achieve high confidence much too easily by ignoring what it does not know. It is therefore not surprising that many of us are prone to have high confidence in unfounded intuitions. Klein and I eventually agreed on an important principle: the confidence that people have in their intuitions is not a reliable guide to their validity. In other words, do not trust anyone—including yourself—to tell you how much you should trust their judgment. (Location 4233)

Tags: heuristics

Note: The confidence people have in their intuitions is not a good indication of their validity

Whether professionals have a chance to develop intuitive expertise depends essentially on the quality and speed of feedback, as well as on sufficient opportunity to practice. (Location 4271)

the proper way to elicit information from a group is not by starting with a public discussion but by confidentially collecting each person’s judgment. This procedure makes better use of the knowledge available to members of the group than the common practice of open discussion. (Location 4338)

Note: Elicit feedback from a group by confidiantialy collecting each persons feedback first

overly optimistic forecasts of the outcome of projects are found everywhere. Amos and I coined the term planning fallacy to describe plans and forecasts that are unrealistically close to best-case scenarios could be improved by consulting the statistics of similar cases (Location 4422)

Note: We could improve the accuracy of plans by consulting the stats of similar projects .planning

Using such distributional information from other ventures similar to that being forecasted is called taking an “outside view” and is the cure to the planning fallacy. (Location 4451)

Tags: planning

Note: .planning

“A budget reserve is to contractors as red meat is to lions, and they will devour it.” (Location 4464)

Tags: planning

Note: .planning

Leaders of large businesses sometimes make huge bets in expensive mergers and acquisitions, acting on the mistaken belief that they can manage the assets of another company better than its current owners do. The stock market commonly responds by downgrading the value of the acquiring firm, because experience has shown that efforts to integrate large firms fail more often than they succeed. The misguided acquisitions have been explained by a “hubris hypothesis”: the executives of the acquiring firm are simply less competent than they think they are. (Location 4561)

Note: Efforts to integrate large firms fail more often than they succeed

The procedure is simple: when the organization has almost come to an important decision but has not formally committed itself, Klein proposes gathering for a brief session a group of individuals who are knowledgeable about the decision. The premise of the session is a short speech: “Imagine that we are a year into the future. We implemented the plan as it now exists. The outcome was a disaster. Please take 5 to 10 minutes to write a brief history of that disaster.” (Location 4689)

Tags: planning

Note: The premortem helps prevent failures

The same sound will be experienced as very loud or quite faint, depending on whether it was preceded by a whisper or by a roar. To predict the subjective experience of loudness, it is not enough to know its absolute energy; you also need to know the reference sound to which it is automatically compared. Similarly, you need to know about the background before you can predict whether a gray patch on a page will appear dark or light. And you need to know the reference before you can predict the utility of an amount of wealth. (Location 4834)

Note: Knowledge of the reference point is important

The third principle is loss aversion. When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce. (Location 4962)

Note: People prefer avoiding losses to gaining