Making Decisions – Fast and Slow

June 5, 2013 Katharina Lochner

The two systems we use when making decisions

The 2011 book by Nobel Memorial Prize winner in Economics Daniel Kahneman outlines his research over the last few decades. Fast and slow refers to two systems we use when making decisions: System 1 is fast, instinctive and emotional, whereas System 2 is comparably slow, deliberative, and logical. He explains in which settings the systems work and where they have flaws. We came across a number of nice, short videos in which some of his ideas are explained.

First, there is one that explains System 1 and System 2 and both the settings in which they work well and in which they are not quite as suitable.

We found two videos that explain in a bit more detail the biases our mind has. In the first one, it is outlined how our brain makes use of what you know and does not take into account what you might not know.


The second one explains anchoring, our tendency to rely too much on the first piece of information presented to us when making subsequent decisions.

In an interview with Jesse Singal on “The Daily Beast”, Daniel Kahneman explains what the practical implications of these biases are and why we better be aware of them. For example, when it comes to selection of leaders, he suggests we do not vote for the overconfident ones, but rather look at their achievements and make our choice based on that – which seems to be easier in organisations than in politics. When asked what he suggests in order to make sure that we make our decisions based on System 2, he gives quite a simple answer: “Slow down, sleep on it, and ask your most brutal and least empathetic close friends for their advice.”

About the Author

Katharina Lochner

Dr Katharina Lochner is the former research director for the cut-e Group which was acquired by Aon in 2017. Katharina is now a researcher and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Europe in Iserlohn, Germany. In her role at cut-e, she applied the research in organizational and work psychology to real-world assessment practice. She has a strong expertise in the construction and evaluation of online psychometric tools.

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