Understanding System-1 and System-2 thinking




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Define System-1 and System-2 thinking in your own words.

A system one thinking system deeply relies on situational and circumstantial cues, conspicuous memories, and heuristic thinking for a person to swiftly and confidently make judgments more particularly when the situations are less the same and when immediate action is needed. For example, when I am crossing the road, I use system-1 thinking to check how safe the road is before crossing quickly. If a track speeds up when I am crossing the, I have to adjust rapidly and act with speed to avoid being hit.


System-2 thinking also referred to as reflective thinking, is applicable when making decisions and arriving at a judgment in unfamiliar situations. In system 2, the mind tends to slower, analytical, and reasoning takes the precedent. System 2 is triggered when an incident does not come naturally, and, thus, it needs some level of conscious reasoning. An appropriate example of where to apply system-2 thinking is when I am faced with an incident that requires proper reasoning and memorization. The appropriate example is when one is learning to drive or swim.


Define “heuristic” in your own words.

Heuristic thinking is the tendency to use cognitive shortcuts when arriving at a given decision. They are an integral part of human reasoning cognitive processes and helps them arrive at decisions swiftly and quickly.

Give an example of a heuristic that might be used in your personal or professional life and briefly show how it could have a positive or negative effect.

In my professional life, I have seen investors who see and imitate what others are doing and decides to invest without qualitative and quantitative. The good side of it is that it may just flourish without spending any resources investigating the market dynamics. On the other hand, it may fail as people do not have sufficient knowledge of the market’s driving forces.


Explain the term “dominance structuring” in your own words.

Is dominance structuring a positive or negative attribute of critical thinking? Explain. Use examples if that is helpful to your explanation.

Dominance structuring is an essential strategy that helps decide between several options. It tends to influence a person’s condition in any significant decision-making process, acting and sustaining it. Dominance structuring outlines the significant merits of decision-making choices and gives less focus on the crucial decision-making steps. Dominance structuring encompasses positive aspects as people and groups get the confidence to act appropriately on individual decisions. For instance, a person acquires confidence to embark on a particular financial project. There are risks such as business failure, hazards, theft, and many others that a person takes while arriving at this project’s decision. Such decisions are a form of dominance structuring.


Briefly examine what part you think mastery of facts and understanding of data has in avoiding cognitive bias in System-1 thinking.

Cognitive bias is an illogical misinterpretation of the existing information and gives almost no regard to several apparent aspects. These errors do not emanate from brain malfunctioning. With this, one cannot analyze the available data to make decisions, thus forcing people to use trial and error methods or other heuristic reasoning, which helps us think faster but often leads us to make mistakes. System 1  thinking tends to associate the newly available information with the already existing patterns, rather than innovating new ones for any given unique experience, which results in varying types of biases. System 1,  framed thought, attempts to demonstrate that it usually results in a cognitive bias. People tend to look for information that only validates their reasoning mode and ignores what does not conform to their hypothesis. Cognitive bias leads to people brushing aside facts and evidence. In other words, system 1 thinking is fueled by natural intuitions and heuristics, allowing people to carry out routine activities such as walking.



Facione, P., & Gittens, C. A. (2015). Think critically. Pearson.

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