New Video Gives Stunning Insights into Why We Make Stupid Mistakes

The video above asks the following question: “You go into a toy store, and there’s a toy bat and a toy ball. Together they cost $1.10, and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

…after you quickly find out that your reflexive response was almost definitely wrong, you can learn from Veritasium’s Derek Muller why that is, and how to give yourself a better shot at getting the right answer next time.Muller’s more recent videos have delivered new ways of thinking about everything from quantum physics to self-driving cars, and this latest paradigm-shifter applies a new perspective to our very thought processes themselves.

Throughout the video, Muller highlights the difference between System 1 (which he names Gun) and System 2 (Drew). The two systems represent two different types of thought that occur in our minds: System 1 takes care of most of our thinking, and is responsible for reflexive responses like the one that probably delivered the wrong answer to the above question. (You thought the ball was $1.00 at first, right?). But System 2, that’s the Einstein mode of thinking—it’s the mode of thinking you activate when you’re trying to solve a difficult problem, or (presumably) trying to figure out where to eat?! 

System 1 (Gun) on the left, System 2 (Drew) on the right.

This dual mode of thinking is a concept used in the field of psychology, and was first laid out by a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist named Daniel Kahneman. You’ve probably heard of “thinking fast and thinking slow,” which is the concept of System 1 and System 2 in a nutshell, and also almost exactly the title of his book on the subject: Thinking, Fast and Slow.

When asked if he thought that thinkers may often believe they’re using System 2 (slow thinking) when they are in fact using System 1 (fast), Kahneman replied: “I think mostly. I think most of us feel that we have a reason for what we are doing but in fact, we do what we are doing very largely because of a reason we’re not necessarily completely aware… the reasons are not necessarily the causes of our actions.” Which means if you decided to watch Veritasium’s video, or do just about anything else today, don’t be so sure you did those things for the reasons you think you did.

What do you think about this video and dual-mode of thinking? Use either one of your thought systems to comment below!

Images: Veritasium

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