Welcome to Elliot our new contributor. Here an extract from his site – click the link at the bottom of the page to see more of his stuff.
To demonstrate your automatic thinking, take a look at the following words:
A lot just happened to you in that brief second. You brought up some unpleasant images (perhaps memories) of banana tasting yellow vomit. You twisted your face slightly in disgust and possibly recoiled somewhat from the screen. Your heart rate increased, your pupils dilated and the hairs on your arms stood up (all very slightly, of course). It was completely and automatically out of your control. You did all the thinking without knowingly thinking. Great, isn’t it? That’s called System 1.
To demonstrate System 2, solve this problem (and please do try):
16 x 44
Feel that? That’s you thinking. A precise solution didn’t come to mind. You had to engage System 2 to answer and you had to consciously choose whether or not you wanted to answer. I presume most of you didn’t bother. With System 2 you experienced slow thinking. You retrieved (from memory) the problem of multiplication that you learnt from school, and you implemented it. You felt the strain of holding information, having to keep track of where you were and where you were going. It was hard work, wasn’t it? Not only was your mind involved, but your body too. Your muscles tensed up, your heart rate increased, your blood pressure rose and even your pupils dilated (again, very slightly). They contracted again when you found the answer (which is 704, by the way) or when you gave up.
Some mental actions are completely beyond your control. For example, what is the capital of France? This requires little or no effort and you intuitively think of Paris. You can’t help that one.
Although System 1 automatically switches on and comes to your aid whenever you need it, can you always trust it?
Here is a simple problem. Solve it with your intuition. What’s the first answer that comes to your head?
A bat and ball cost £1.10.
The bat costs one pound more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?
Want to know the answer? Follow this link to Elliot’s site and for more perception illusions. Elliot’s site