System One Thinking
Everyday that we wake up we use system 1 and system 2 thinking just to get our day started. There are clear differences between the two types of thinking and when we are dealing with system 1 by itself we tend to be dealing with situations where we need to be fast and quick on our feet to come up the answers or reactions that we need. System 1 is defined as “operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control” (Kahneman, 2008). So when I think of system one thinking I think of everyday task that I do to get myself through the day, for an example when I am brushing my teeth I don’t have to think very hard and long about where I need to put the toothpaste or how to brush my teeth.
When we are dealing with anchoring heuristics and system 1 thinking there are many situations that I can think of where anchoring heuristics may raise some biases when we are using system 1. One heuristic that I can think of is when you are looking to buy a used car from a dealership they have a price set and when you look at the price they are asking you automatically come back with a counter offer. Here we are using system 1 because we don’t have to sit and think very long about the price we want to pay, a lot of times people already have the price in mind for what they want to pay before they even get to the dealership. With anchoring heuristics come cognitive biases, even if it’s not on your end. What cognitive biases are in the situation described above about the used car, would be the person who is trying to sell you the car for the price that they want because the car has a special accommodation that no other model would be able to offer you. Once the anchor is set (the price of the car) this is when we start to see all these different biases come into play. When dealing with an anchor it is hard to figure out what they actually mean by anchor, the anchor is a “reference point” or starting price. If we didn’t have heuristics or anchors to base things off of we would live in a world where people could get what they want at a low price and no-one would make money, which in return would make people depressed. System 1 and heuristics are tied together because with heuristics we get the reference point (anchor) and then system one is applied through the process of negotiations for whatever good is being offered. If we lived in a world where system 1 was obsolete things would take forever and this fast pace world would be slowed down majorly. Availability heuristics also come into play when we are dealing with system 1 and the quickness that is associated with it. Availability heuristics is defined “Availability is a cognitive heuristic in which a decision maker relies upon knowledge that is readily available rather than examine other alternatives or procedures” (Kahneman, Availability Heuristics, 2002). As Kahneman defines availability heuristics shows that we use it everyday when we use system 1. Because with availability we rely on how quickly we can access the information so we can make the best decision for our outcome that we have desired. No matter what type of system we are using or what kind of heuristic or anchoring we are using we are going to have biases every time. No matter what we are doing in life there is always going to be a bias involved if it yours or someone else. Biases are used everyday in this world that we live in, people always feel that their opinion is so much better than the next. When we are dealing with the used car example I was talking about earlier there are two biases that are going head to head. One you have the person trying to sell you the car and their bias is that this is the best car that you can get for whatever price it is. Then you have your own bias and you may have one bias or multiple biases, because you believe that the dollar amount that you have in mind compared to what the anchor is set at. If we didn’t have biases in this world it would be hard to think how things in life would be because biases allow people to have conversations seeing both sides and being able to think quickly.
System 1 thinking is used so much that people have a hard time thinking about when they use it. That is the sole purpose of system 1, if we had to think about what our next step would be then would be thinking of system 2. The reason why we live in such a fast pace world that we do these days is because of system 1, this system allows people to make rational decisions on the fly without compromising any potential outcomes for the worst. System one is so important when dealing with people driving in cars, because without system 1 there would be many accidents because without system one we wouldn’t be able to make those quick decisions that we do on a daily basis.
Kahneman. (2002, Jan 4). Availability Heuristics. Retrieved Oct 21, 2013, from Heuristics: http://heuristics.behaviouralfinance.net/availability/
Kahneman. (2008). The Characters of the Story. Kahneman Chapter 1 , 19-30.