Following the schedule of our Reading Calendar
After chapter 7, where we encountered different examples of biases in reasoning and we confronted the terrible Halo Effect, we come back now to a more descriptive chapter in preparation of what is to come.
System 1 is continuously on, checking the environment and making a lot of judgments of the possible threats and opportunities that surround us. The assessments that system 1 does are limited by its capabilities and limitations. It uses very often approximate heuristics because it evaluates questions that need an analytical approach which system 1 cannot provide.
System 1 is good at grasping averages and textures but is very bad at counting and giving exact numerical answers. It compares and classifies different intensities but then, is able to compare and mix intensities from different categories and domains. Finally, in what Kahneman calls the “mental shotgun”, system 2 can direct the assessment action of system 1 to certain issues but can do it only in an imprecise way. That means that system 1 will take not only that particular issue but a lot of other similar or related questions.
We are promised that in future chapters we will be shown how all these characteristics of system 1 assessment activity bring us to bias and error.