- Sarah Birrell IvorySarah Birrell IvoryLecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School
This chapter focuses on the role of thinking as a tool for critical thinking. System 1 thinking (fast thinking) is instinctive and automatic, while System 2 thinking (slow thinking) is deliberate and reasoned. System 1 thinking dominates (and should dominate) your daily life, linked to survival instincts and heuristics (rules of thumb). System 2, on the other hand, responds when System 1 does not or cannot because you face an unexpected or unfamiliar situation; to monitor System 1 thoughts and responses and intervene to modify them if necessary; and when you intentionally put yourself in unfamiliar situations in order to improve it—like undertaking a university degree. University is a key opportunity to improve thinking which requires appropriate motivation, faith, and ongoing practice. The PURR acronym can guide you in structured thinking sessions: prepare, undertake, record, return, and distract-to-focus activities can be useful during these sessions. Time and distraction are the most common obstacles to dedicated thinking. Cognitive bias, in particular subconscious bias, can also influence your thinking and understanding, and uncovering this is essential to reveal its impact.