Fast & Slow ThinkingOpen Access

Fast & Slow Thinking

We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Though it has its benefits, our instinctive tendency to preserve mental ‘bandwidth’ and make fast decisions can instead lead us to poor ones.

Heller, Shah, Guryan, Ludwig, Mullainathan & Pollack (2017). Thinking, fast and slow? Field experiments to reduce crime … in Chicago. Quarterly Journal of Economics.

The study

Setup

Setup

2,064 male students from 9 schools in Chicago were enrolled in a two-year-long program that encouraged system-two slow thinking on how to manage situations of conflict.

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Results

Results

Participation in the program reduced total arrests by 35% and violent crime arrests by 50%.

Study graph
np_read_2490885_000000

Heller, Shah, Guryan, Ludwig, Mullainathan & Pollack (2017). Thinking, fast and slow? Field experiments to reduce crime … in Chicago. Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Key Takeaways

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1

Add a little friction.

We constantly weigh up effort vs rewards, so seeing one long sign-up form can lead us to make a fast system-one decision not to do so.

A process that’s Chunked, features reflective Goal Primes and clearly shows the product benefits will work better. 

Takeaway image
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2

Provide warnings for damaging decisions.

Instagram have launched "comment warning", live-analysing a comment and notifying of potential offense, without removing the Autonomy to post. This allows for reflection and avoids Reactance.

Takeaway image
3
3

Build in reflective periods for big decisions.

Knee-jerk, short-term decisions can harm our longer-term goals. E.g., financial firms can help us make smarter decisions about withdrawing all our savings by building in a reflective delay, especially when such decisions conflict with our prior Commitments and goals.

Takeaway image
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Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Fast & Slow Thinking

Fast & Slow Thinking

We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Though it has its benefits, our instinctive tendency to preserve mental ‘bandwidth’ and make fast decisions can instead lead us to poor ones.

The study

Setup

2,064 male students from 9 schools in Chicago were enrolled in a two-year-long program that encouraged system-two slow thinking on how to manage situations of conflict.

Results

Participation in the program reduced total arrests by 35% and violent crime arrests by 50%.

study graph
np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

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We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

Prospect Theory

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A loss hurts more than an equal gain feels good

Reciprocity

Reciprocity

We’re hardwired to return kindness received

Framing

Framing

We make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

We feel more negative when losing something than positive when we gain it

Default Effect

Default Effect

We tend to accept the option pre-chosen for us

Anchoring

Anchoring

What we see first affects our judgement of everything thereafter

Fast & Slow Thinking

Fast & Slow Thinking

We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Dynamic Norms

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Salience

Salience

Our choices are determined by the information we're shown

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