Friday, December 02, 2011

Intuition: quick answers to wrong questions.

Poetry makes meanings jump at you because the poet makes an effort to split the verse in such a way as  to empasize his intentions. It is much more difficult to do this with prose. In this regard, ppt presentations are closer to poetry than to prose. This passage from Kahneman and Klein (2009) is important, so I'm going to rewrite it as poetry:

Attribute substitution has been described as
an automatic process.
It produces
intuitive judgments in which  
difficult question
is answered by substituting
for an easier one—
the essence of heuristic thinking (Kahneman & Frederick, 2002).

Of course, the mechanisms that produce
incorrect intuitions
will only operate in
the absence of skill.
If people have a skilled response to the task with which they are charged, they will apply their skill. But even
in the absence of skill
an intuitive response may come
to their minds.

The difficulty
is that people have
no way to know where their intuitions came from. 
There is no subjective marker
that distinguishes correct intuitions
intuitions that are produced
by highly imperfect heuristics.

An important characteristic of intuitive judgments, which they share with perceptual impressions, is that 
a single response
initially comes to mind. 
Most of the time
we have to trust this first impulse,
and most of the time we are right or are able to make the necessary corrections if we turn out to be wrong, but 
high subjective confidence is
not a good indication
of validity (Einhorn & Hogarth, 1978). 
one’s intuition is
an effortful operation
of System 2, which people
do not always perform
—sometimes because
it is difficult
to do so and sometimes because 
they do not bother.

This is related to the question why creative thinking is slow thinking (you have to engage System 2) and why in a brainstorming sessions you never know what you missed with your solution.

tags: psychology, brainstorming, thinking, mind

Kahneman D., Klein G. 2009. Conditions for Intuitive Expertise. DOI: 10.1037/a0016755.

No comments: