According to Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow), we have two types of thinking:

I. fast, instinctive and emotional
II. slower, more deliberative, and more logical

I found interesting Kahneman's remark that IQ score represents a person's System II ability (it does not measure System I nor the subject's ability to apply them appropriately).

I assume that it is possible to prioritize the System I early on in one's life because it is a fast way to the end. (Example: In elementary/high school Maths, many tasks can be solved somewhat intuitively since they are simple reoccurring problems. And instead of real deep understanding of the rules, the problems can be solved by application of problem-solving patterns. This applies especially to situations when competition is promoted, thus speed is rewarded.)

Now, Is it possible (how?) to (re)train oneself to apply more of the System II?

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    $\begingroup$ I have many doubts whether the statement "IQ score represents a person's System II ability" is correct. See the Flyn effect $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ DesignerAnalyst, can you be more specific why the Flynn effect contradicts the notion (made by Kahneman)? $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2018 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


2) Yes, I think so. If you think of your systems as a pattern recognizer, and continuously exposing it to more complex patterns and associated solutions, you can literally invoke your system 2 more easily, for example, in higher level math, you can prove properties and theorems in certain way that is efficient and effective, which depends on experiences to know what's the best method. Proving is certainly an act of system 2, it's complex and logical. Another example, meditation can be used to identify negative thoughts, once you recognize that you are being bothered by your own thoughts, you can immediately ignore them, this takes training of recognizing the pattern and let your system 2 focus your attention on other more important things than the negative thoughts brought up by your system 1. One more example is recognizing your own logical fallacies and cognitive biases. The key is to know the existence of the patterns, repeatedly recognize patterns, and correct/solve the patterns.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any references to back your answer up? $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Which specific parts need to be backed up? My primary reference is also Thinking Fast and Slow, the examples are deducted and from personal experiences. The conclusion is my summary, and something that I practice successfully. $\endgroup$
    – drerD
    Feb 21, 2018 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ "Proving is certainly an act of system 2". Do you have any references to back this up? What more can you give on this? Same goes for "meditation can be used to identify negative thoughts". What do you mean by "logical falacies"? There is a base to a possible good answer. Giving that little bit more could make a great answer. $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2018 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ Mathematical proofs are results of logical thinking, which cannot be done by system 1, and it falls into the definition of system 2 defined by Dr. Kahneman. Does this suffice? Meditation is a technique that is often taught to patients by clinical psychology practitioners. Logical fallacies are like 'appealing to authority', 'red herring', 'straw man', etc. $\endgroup$
    – drerD
    Feb 21, 2018 at 8:47

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