2. Priming– Priming involves getting a desired behavior out of someone by providing clues that lead to a desired behavior. Want to make someone walk slowly? Create word or image associations that are associated with walking slowly. Example? Show them words such as “elderly” or old people, or old people walking. This will lead to them walking slowly (or fast, if they hate old people).
3. Bad fonts/brash colors trigger system 2. Want your students to do better on an exam? Make the font ugly, or hard to read. It will trigger system 2, which leads to their brains working harder and more carefully.
4. Want to make someone smile? Ask them to put a pencil in her/his mouth, between their teeth. It causes the “smiling” muscles to trigger, forcing someone to smile for real, even if they don’t want to.
5. Want a more successful business? Give your business a pronounceable name. Seriously, customers are more likely to remember companies with easy to pronounce names, and these companies do better in the stock market.
6. Use small words instead of big words. Example? Use the word “use” instead of ‘utilize.’
7. Exaggerated Emotional Coherence (the Halo Effect). If you agree with, or share someone’s views, you are more inclined to think more favorably of everything else about the person (clothes, hair, voice, etc). The opposite is also true. If you hate someone’s looks, you are likely to hate everything about them. This is true even for things you’ve never observed about the person. For example, you are more inclined to think the person is a good father/husband, simply because you like his views. You are also likely to justify the person’s bad traits; e.g. stubbornness is seen as common sense/intelligence.
8. The Anchoring Effect (a version of priming). If you hint at a particular value someone has not considered, the person’s estimate of whatever you ask them will stay close to that value. Example? Would you say the number of African countries in the UN is over or under 65? Chances are that your guess is close to this number (let’s say 45). Or, would you say the number of African countries in the UN is around 10? In this latter case , your guess will be closer to 10.
9. Availability Bias (another form of Priming). People who watch spy/conspiracy movies frequently are more likely to see or suspect conspiracies in real life. Example? If you watch many detective movies or read detective books, you are more primed to believe you’re being followed (by secret service or evil corporation) in real life. Found a mysterious pin in your belongings? You likely think someone planted it on you to track your whereabouts.
10. Base Rate. This psychological/economic phenomenon is not followed by many people when it should be. It involves drawing a conclusion without looking at the actual facts (base rate). Example? 95% of small businesses fail within the first five years. You come across one that is very successful and so you assume if this succeeds yours will, too. Another? The lawn is well-kept so you assume the house is well-managed.
11. Narratives of the Past. Everything makes sense in hindsight; or, I saw/knew it would happen. It was inevitable the US and Russia would be in conflict in 2014; look at the evidence from years past. This runs into another issue called The Illusion of Pundits (seriously).
11.b) The Illusions of Pundits. Due to overconfidence in their expertise, pundits do poorly on assessing/predicting future predicaments and outcomes (studies show this). TRANSLATION (stats work better than human pundits). In other words, Nate Silver’s 538 blog predictions (based on number crunching) is far more accurate than any of the pundits on CNN/NBC/FOX.
12. System 1 versus System 2 at work:
A bat costs $1 more than a baseball. If the total cost of the ball and the bat is $1.10, then what is the cost of the ball?
At first glance, the common reader with basic math skills knows the answer right away. Duh, of course the cost of the ball is $.10 cents.
Well, you’re wrong. The cost of the ball is $.05 cents. The statement did not say the bat costs exactly one dollar. It suggests the costs of the ball is one dollar plus (more than) the cost of the ball.
x = ball.
x + $1.00 = cost of the bat.
If x = $.10, then the total cost of the bat is $1.10. This cannot be correct since we already know the total of the ball + bat = $1.10.
The correct answer is that the ball costs $.05 cents.
x = 5 cents.
x + $1 = $1.05 cents.
$1.05 (cost of bat) + $.05 (cost of ball) = $1.10–> the total GIVEN cost of the ball and bat.
A lake doubles in size each day. If on day 48, the lake is 100%, on what day did the lake reach 50% (half its full size)?
The incorrect answer is Day 24. The correct answer is actually Day 47.
Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2011.