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Kahneman divides our thinking into two subsystems: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 thinking is fast, intuitive, unconscious thought. Most everyday activities (like driving, talking, cleaning, etc.) make heavy use of the type 1 system. The type 2 system is slow, calculating, conscious thought. When you're doing a difficult math problem or thinking carefully about a philosophical problem, you're engaging the type 2 system. From Kahneman's perspective, the big difference between type 1 and type 2 thinking is that type 1 is fast and easy but very susceptible to bias, whereas type 2 is slow and requires conscious effort but is much more resistant to cognitive biases.

Traditionally, "intelligence" (as colloquially defined) has correlated with type 2 thinking. So, a reasonable conjecture would be that people who are better at type 2 thinking would use it more and, therefore be less vulnerable to bias. However, this research shows that even those who are very good at type 2 thinking (as measured by their SAT scores and NCS scores) are even more vulnerable to cognitive biases. This is a deeply counter-intuitive result. Why is it that people who have a greater capacity to overcome bias have a greater vulnerability to bias?




> Why is it that people who have a greater capacity to overcome bias have a greater vulnerability to bias?

Overconfidence. If you've become accustomed to thinking of yourself as being better able to avoid cognitive bias, you come to be confident in your abilities, to the point where you (perhaps unconsciously) think of yourself as not susceptible to biases.


That's certainly one possible explanation. Another possible explanation is that their brains are just faster in general, so that even though their type 2 systems are faster than others', their type 1 systems are faster yet and manage to override even more consistently than in others. In any case, I don't think it's something that's "obvious" or "expected" by any means, and I do think that it should bear further investigation.


> Why is it that people who have a greater capacity to overcome bias have a greater vulnerability to bias?

Why do you assume that type 2 people have greater capacity to overcome bias?




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