03 – System 2 efforts

Attention and Effort

System 2 is effortful and one of its main characteristics is laziness, a reluctance to invest more effort than is strictly necessary. System 2 efforts and self-control help us to overcome intuitions and impulses of System 1.

Mental Effort

For testing of our system 2, we have a game which helps us to know the efforts of our system 2. We prepare a few cards and on which we write the four-digit number. Then we pick up cards randomly and add-1 to each number written on a card. For example, if the number on the card is 1125 then answer will be 2236. We find it easier so now, we can try it with more difficulties and use add-3. That means if the number on the card is 1125 then answer will be 4458. 

Our pupils are sensitive indicators of mental efforts so whenever we put any mental efforts to think our pupil size gets change. When we start working on any problems our pupils get larger in size and as we get solutions or give up then pupil size start contracting.

Switching from one task to another is also requires mental efforts and which uses system 2.

Modern tests of working memory require the individual to switch repeatedly between two demanding tasks, retaining the results of one operation while performing the other. People who do well on these tests tend to do well on tests of general intelligence. We generally tend to break down works in a smaller part to perform it well. We generally use the law of least efforts.

The Busy and Depleted System 2

When we are putting mental efforts means system 2 is busy in thinking so that system 1 take charge of our immediate decisions. If someone asked us to select food during that time, system 1 mostly go with temptation food, go with sweet foods. There can be selfish decisions. Higher the demand for system 2, higher the self-control which is depleting and unpleasant.

Sometimes when we have put efforts in one task, we tend to avoid putting efforts on others. And sometimes, we accept to put efforts on others. When we have a strong incentive to do so.

When you are actively involved in difficult cognitive reasoning or engaged in a task that requires self-control, your blood glucose level drops. So, giving glucose to the brain helps to put more mental efforts. That’s why sweet foods, temptation foods and activities which we love to perform getting demanded when we have put huge mental efforts and we get tired mentally. These things help to give energy and rest to system 2 so that system 2 is getting ready for another mental effort. 

The Lazy System 2

Many people are overconfident in nature and also that have an overconfident on their intuition. So that they avoid taking decision by taking the help of system 2.

When people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe arguments that appear to support it, even when these arguments are unsound.

Similarly, while making an investment, we majority times use system 1 and avoid uses of system 2. So, we reach the conclusion and accept the arguments which support our investment though it’s correct or not. Though we have invested wrongly, we do not listen to it and just seek for supporting arguments. 

Those who do not fall under such a trap and uses system 2 whenever required. They are more rational. So that we should not be biased with our investment and keep collecting information which is against our original hypothesis.

This entire series will be review with various examples from books which are “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and “The Art of Thinking Clearly“.

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