In Memoriam: Daniel Kahneman

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist’s research on decision-making influenced The SEEDS Model®.

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NLI was saddened to learn that psychologist Daniel Kahneman, whose research contributed profoundly to our development of The SEEDS Model®, died last week at the age of 90.

Kahneman, long associated with Princeton University, received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work challenging the assumption that humans act rationally when making economic decisions. Instead, Kahneman argued, humans have hard-wired cognitive biases that influence their judgment.

In Kahneman’s 2011 best-selling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” the researcher theorized that our brains have two different systems for processing information: System 1, which is fast, automatic, intuitive, and emotional; and System 2, which is slow, effortful, analytic, and deliberate. Cognitive biases — which evolved to allow us to make quick decisions that keep us safe — operate under System 1 and can sometimes cause us to make mistakes. To mitigate biases and make more objective decisions, we need to engage System 2, which requires much more mental effort.

NLI drew upon the work of Kahneman and his longtime collaborator, Dr. Amos Tversky, to categorize more than 150 cognitive biases into an easy-to-remember framework: The SEEDS Model®, which stands for similarity, expedience, experience, distance, and safety. Insights from Kahneman’s research were integrated into this framework to make leaders more aware of their decision-making processes and help guide their teams to more thoughtful decisions.

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