Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

"Thinking: Fast and Slow"

By: Daniel Kahneman

A Series of two Workshops,

Faciltated by: Chris Jazwinski, Joe Melcher, and Mary Bodvarsson

Psychology Department

thinkNobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman makes accessible a large body of research on how the mind works. He describes two complementary aspects of human cognition: fast/automatic/effortless and slow/deliberate/effortful thought. Automatic processes (System 1) run constantly in the background, usually outside the scope of conscious attention (similar to neural control over blood circulation). The deliberative System 2 utilizes our limited resources of attention and motivation and is therefore deployed only when necessary (e.g., when System 1 detects something surprising). Many decisions are driven by input from System 1 via heuristics and biases without conscious awareness. Kahneman explores implications for many realms such as education, science, business, government and politics. Thus “Thinking, Fast and Slow” could be of interest to almost anyone.

These topics are central to the concept of “critical thinking”. To be an uncritical thinker is to accept input from System 1 with no caveats. System 1 operates according to the principle “what you see is all there is” or “as a machine for jumping to conclusions.” Understanding these characteristics of how the mind works can help us and our students appreciate both the powers and the weaknesses of the two systems and to more consistently avoid some of the pitfalls of biased, uncritical thinking, and poor decision making processes.

To register for the workshops please click below:

I would like to register for the workshops

Workshop 1, "Thinking: Meet Fast System 1 and Slow System 2"

March 21, 3:30 - 5:00

Granite, Atwood

Participants will be introduced to the cognitive operations of System 1 and System 2 by participating in psychology demos and discussions. The results of a brief survey – completed before reading the book – will be incorporated into the workshop. At the end of the first workshop, a list of themes and topics will be presented for participants to rank order based on degree of interest. We will use these to tailor activities and discussions during the second workshop

Readings for Workshop 1:

Read the introduction and chapters 1 through 5. For the ambitious: read chapters 6 - 9 as well.

Workshop 2, "Thinking, teaching, learning and life"

April 5, 9:00 - 10:15

Location: To be determined.

Participants will explore themes of interest in relationship to teaching, learning and life. We will attempt to make various disciplinary connections based on workshop attendees.

Readings for Workshop 2: To be determined.