Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Brains — The Intuitive and the Rational/Logical

 I'm re-posting this past post as a way of re-setting the context for some future posts.

I'm now actually reading Kahneman's book and finding many pieces of information that are relevant to what this blog addresses: intelligent thinking women, understanding ourselves, managing our thinking and emotions effectively, communicating and taking action in the most effective ways at work and in personal relationships, creating and breaking thinking habits.

I'm also away from my home base which I find definitely increases my intuitive thinking — or my thinking fast, system 1. And I'm with a friend who is very smart in totally different ways than I, which enhances my own thinking and sends me out and down different neural pathways. She was talking yesterday about memorizing a (short) literary quote every day, which she finds makes her brain feel "freshly brushed".

Here's the previous post.

I have to acknowledge, I still haven't read Daniel Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. I have ordered it, but haven't received it yet. I'm in Phoenix for a month, where amazingly there are no more book stores! I had to order it online rather than from my favorite independent bookstore Eagle Harbor Bookstore on Bainbridge Island. Happily I'm returning tomorrow.

But here are some interesting thoughts from the NYTimes Book Review of Kahneman's book, by Jim Holt.

• System 1 is our fast, automatic, intuitive and largely unconscious mode of thinking. "It is system 1 that detects hostility in a voice and effortlessly completes the phrase,'bread and . . . ' " It uses loose connections, memories, metaphor, similes, to create solutions to problems, ideas for innovation.

• System 2, in contrast,  ". . . 'swings into action when we have to fill out a tax form or park a car in a narrow space." (I'm not sure I agree with the latter example)  Interestingly, Kahneman says that you can tell that people are in System 2 because their pupils are dilated. It uses logical thinking, solid data, tight connections to come to conclusions and solutions.

"Although System 2 believes itself to be there the action is, the automatic System 1 is the hero of the book."

What do you think? Which type are you? I'm a System 2 and I'm working on improving my System 1, but I'm much more successful and confident with System 2.

Here's a related post: http://intelligentwomenonly.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-womens-lateral-thinking-illogical.html

and  another: http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=5630711609871539058&postID=1076726261671923464
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