Sunday, August 9, 2020

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Book Report)

            As a social work major whose goal is to become a psychotherapist, it is important for me to study how people think. I have found that for majority of my life it is something that I have always tried to learn, and it has helped me become more conscious of others in my environment. Growing up I was always told I was a very emotional and sensitive, which used to cloud my judgment significantly, but over the years of studying and receiving counseling I began thinking about my thinking. Now, I try to practice using System 2, slower thinking, when analyzing options and making decisions.

            I especially enjoyed Chapter 28 where the author, Daniel Kahneman, discusses loss aversion. Put simply, this is the idea that it is more important to avoid losing than it is to strive to win. It was discussed that it is much easier to point out a negative in a situation than to find a positive. Kahneman gives the example of having a bowl of delicious cherries in front of you and finding a roach in the bowl. This one cockroach ruins the entire bowl and deems it virtually inedible for most people. If, on the other hand, there was a bowl of cockroaches with one delicious cherry in the bowl, this would not make the bowl any less disgusting to most people. Negativity is much more powerful to the brain than positivity.

            This concept of loss aversion reminds me of what I have learned about cognitive distortions. A few come to mind, but the most prominent is the cognitive distortion of disqualifying the positive. This is when someone recognizes only the negative aspects in a situation, and completely ignores the positive. I personally try to remind myself to not become overwhelmed by what I could perceive as negative thoughts or feelings and try to think more logically and rationally. That isn’t to say I cannot have negative thoughts and feelings, but that I actively try to look for potential positives as well.

I have linked this video because I found it to be very informative and helpful when trying to understand the concept of loss aversion.

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