Friday, January 20, 2012

System 1, System 2 and Negative/Positive Self-Talk

Plodding a bit in reading Kahneman's book, Thinking. It's long, full of research, and well-written in a conversational style, but not always interesting to me. He nicely simplifies System 1 and System 2 thinking styles as "just" the labels chosen. They could just as well have been Max and Sam or Sue and Lou. Here are some interesting ideas gleaned from bopping around the book.

•  Over confidence or unrealistic positive thinking comes from System 1, which in the lingo I use is the intuitive style of thinking. People with the optimistic explanatory style often takes full credit for success, but little blame for failure. It feels good, but can motivate unrealistic emotions and actions. The optimistic style can be trained but not eliminated. "The main benefit of optimism is resilience in the face of  setbacks." It defends one's self-image.

•  In contrast, self-control and self-criticism are functions of System 2. Although not the only functions, and not necessarily pessimistic, negativity rides high compared to System 1.

I'm wondering if all of us who are rational problem-solvers, closer to System 2 than System 1, can not only increase creativity by adding intuitive problem-solving to our repertoire, but we can also decrease some of the negative self-talk. And for those people who are primarily System 1 or intuitive thinkers, adding rational thinking may decrease some of the overly optimistic thinking and feeling. I haven't found this yet in Kahneman, but I'll keep looking.

If all of this is Greek, please search back in the blog for intuitive and rational problem-solving. Whether you've read the book or not, what are your experiences with the 2 models of thinking and the outcomes? 
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