Daniel Kahneman Professor of Psychology

Princeton University; Nobel Prize in Economics 2002


Daniel Kahneman is a world-renowned researcher and theorist in the field of judgment and decision making, and is recognized as the seminal figure in the field of behavioral economics. Kahneman argues that human beings are very poor at making decisions about what will actually make us happy. His research has shown that people are subject to a bias called the “focusing illusion”—meaning that we exaggerate the importance of the things we happen to be thinking about, simply because we are thinking about them, instead of the factors that actually matter to happiness. As he puts it, “Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you're thinking about it.” He has also put forth a theory of two distinct ways the brain generates thoughts, based on his many decades of psychological research. In System One, thoughts are fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, and subconscious. In System Two, thoughts are slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, and conscious. Kahneman shows the interaction between the two systems can help explain several psychological phenomena, such as the optimistic bias, loss aversion, framing, sunk cost, and other vagaries of decision making.

Thinking Fast and Slow

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