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Nobel Laurete transforms the way we think about thinking

19 Aug 2011

Renown US-based behavioural economist and Nobel Laureate, Professor Daniel Kahneman will reveal when we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of 'slow thinking' at The University of Sydney Business School's annual alumni dinner tonight (Friday 19 August).

Professor Kahneman is recognised as one of the world's most prominent and inspiring living psychologists and visits Australia as the guest of the University of Sydney Business School and the United States Studies Centre.

Awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work in Prospect Theory, Kahneman's expertise lies in why normally rational, clear headed people with a wealth of information at their fingertips make questionable decisions based on gut instinct and what causes the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

His visit also comes on the eve of the launch of his new book; Thinking Fast and Slow. The book brings together, for the first time, his many years of research and introduces the concept of the "machinery of the mind. Kahneman argues that two systems drive the way we think and make choices. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, he then exposes the extraordinary capabilities - and also the faults and biases - of fast thinking and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices.

Kahneman's work also investigated the role of optimism in opening up a new business, the importance of properly framing risks in a corporate strategy, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the illusion of expertise - each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decision making.

Acting Dean of the University of Sydney Business School, Professor Tyrone Carlin said "It is wonderful that we are able to invite speakers of the calibre of Professor Kahneman through his connection with other pre-eminent researchers at the Business School such as one of his regular co-authors Professor Dan Lovallo.

DANIEL KAHNEMAN is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University and a professor of public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the only non-economist to have won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences; it was awarded to him in 2002 for his pioneering work with Amos Tversky on decision-making.