Thinking, Fast and Slow. 2. Attention and Effort.

Following the schedule of our Reading Calendar

After the first chapter, where we were introduced to the systems 1 and 2, the author goes on in his preliminary presentation of what will probably be the general concepts that will serve as the basis for explaining the origins of the biases of our thinking processes.

This chapter is centered around the idea that system 2 is fundamentally effortful. It illustrates it with the curious fact the our pupils dilate according to the mental effort of the task we at performing at the moment and shows several examples of effort consuming tasks that helps us to understand the point.

The mental resources available for the kind of mental activities of system 2 is limited. The mind has to choose when we are required to perform several tasks at the same time and this explains the “gorilla blindness” phenomenon. All this contrast with system 1 effortless, spontaneous way of processing information. The question is then, why do we have such an expensive system (2) if system one makes such a great job with much less cost?

The answer is that there are things that system 1 can’t do. The main functions of system 2 are associated with combining different kinds of informations and working with them together creating logical relationships among them. Another proposed function has to be with creating “task-sets” for system 1. It works as kind of control of system 1. Both activities seem highly coincident with what has been traditionally associated with the most defining human traits.

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