Historical Perspectives in Psychology


Daniel Kahneman analyzes and discusses the contemporary understanding of opinion and decision-making cut from psychological findings. The past recent decades uncovered these psychological findings. The findings answer questions regarding cognitive biases, decision-making outside laboratories, when real incentives were vulnerable, immunity amongst smart people, and the possibilities that biases are mistakes.

Kahneman explains the history of psychology from a perspective that experience can eliminate biases. Official members of the predispositions and heuristics society view the behavioral decision study area as comprised of questions continually asked over the years. Kahneman’s book explores the possibility that previous psychologists failed to answer questions about experience and bias.

Kahneman uses personal examples of studies carried out nearly six decades ago. The book conclusively evaluates and incorporates findings made from answering questions about the history of psychology. The findings surpass the early yet relatively easy questions. The following paper will explore historical perspective in the field of psychology analyzed in Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

Historical Perspective of Psychology in “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

The subject of behavioral decision study proves to be incredibly strong. This is because behavioral research reveals impacts that have demonstrated significant influences on economics, money, advertising, medicine, law, and intervention. Behavioral decision study managed to shift to other applied and educational fields quicker than any other area in psychology during the past several decades.

Kahneman notes that, during the past thirty-five years, an ongoing disapproval is the lack of enough facts about psychological mechanisms fundamental to the captivating impacts it records. The work surrounding heuristics and biases is the most vital topic in Kahneman’s behavioral decision study (Kahneman, 2012, p. 26).

There is pressure brought about by the nature of the historical perspective of biases and heuristics psychology. This pressure might be partly accountable for the development of more qualified learning institutions than psychology departments studying behavioral decision research.

According to Kahneman, a lot of topics in psychology shift away from psychology departments (Kahneman, 2012, p. 228). As a result, there are fewer demands for professional psychologists today than during the 1960s to expound on the fundamental psychology mechanisms (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 202).

Before answering questions about psychology mechanisms, Kahneman presents his past ventures in the field of psychology (Kahneman, 2012, p. 37). Kahneman develops this presentation to relate personal research works carried out in the past with ongoing trends in the same field. For example, Kahneman notes that a lot of psychologists were satisfied with demonstrating the crucial impacts of biases and heuristics (Kahneman, 2012, p. 9).

As a result, it is essential to redefine conventional and neoclassical paradigms of economics. Findings made by Kahneman research works are enough to counter disapprovals from other psychologists. The criticisms suggest that behavioral decision researchers today overlook the mechanisms and psychological procedures fundamental to these impacts (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 48).

Kahneman is not quick to defend his work. Instead, the author gives an account of the “demonstration” strategy that he developed and perfected with Amos Tversky (Kahneman, 2012, p. 11). The historical record in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” outlines vivid facts about Kahneman and Tversky started searching for biases in psychology based on their own judgments.

These judgments become clearer through a method that demonstrates the psychologists’ attempt to find the fundamental mechanisms in this field. These mechanisms are a basis for understanding the evidence that Kahneman and Tversky were offering. Kahneman believed that the mechanisms did not come up during their early studies. Instead, it comes up in today’s research works (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 51).

Few researchers in the field of psychology consider questions about biases and heuristics vital to judgment and decision-making psychology today. Nonetheless, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” proves that Kahneman and Tversky asked these questions when improving their early demonstrations.

According to Kahneman, psychologists today are aware of a great amount of fundamental mechanisms for the impacts in the behavioral decision research field (Kahneman, 2012, p. 301). This field revolves around mechanisms that researchers did not officially understand when Kahneman issued his science paper in 1954.

The anchoring phenomenon described by Kahneman is vital to exploring the historical perspective of psychology. This is because the anchoring phenomenon is an example of early studies on psychology mechanisms. According to Tversky, the fundamental procedure is one of the anchoring and inadequate adjustments necessary for understanding judgment in psychology (Kahneman, 2012, p. 409).

This perception prevailed in the years after the famous 1974 science journal. Kahneman opposed this perception by arguing that an anchor results in a biased pursuit of relevant knowledge.

Modern psychology critics do not support this prime explanation because they observe little procedural proof in Kahneman’s early work. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” credits several Epley, Gilovich, Leboeuf, and Shafir for proving that Tversky’s anchoring and adjustment theory was right years after publication.

In the past century, findings reveal the usage of technical terms in economics which Kahneman seeks to determine their meaning. Certain words in economics have been used to imply different meanings for years (Kahneman, 2012, p. 192).

For example, economists and decision psychologists use the word “want” to mean “wantability.” Today, both specialists use the word “want” in their research works and teachings to imply decision utility (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 103). The expected theory altogether revolves around the laws of rationality that ought to oversee decision functions.

As a result, the hypothesis of expected theory does not have anything to add to hedonic practices. Apparently, the two ideas of utility in the economic terms match if psychologists and economists want to enjoy them.

The assumption of matching words is direct in the overall notion that economic agents are logical. Logical agents have to realize their preferences today and in the future (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 107). The same agents ought to make decent decisions that will make the most of these interests.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” offers a thorough and incorporated handling of the role played by two different cognitive systems towards exploring the judgments and choices of people. During the 1950s, Stanovich and West adopted systems that could differentiate these cognitive frameworks.

These systems are System 1 and System 2. System 1 entails the natural responses and rapid decisions people depend on when making most judgments about certain situations. According to Kahneman, System 1 is also a procedure that results in a far superior bias than System 2 (Kahneman, 2012, p. 293).

On the other hand, System 2 entails more planned thought procedures than usually required. Psychologists recently made developments in System 2 to reduce negative impacts brought about by natural judgments. These developments reflect on the historical perspectives of psychologists studying biases and judgments.

This is because Kahneman describes a system for grasping procedures and mechanisms that can explain when biases are about to come up. Kahneman also explains when people need to use System 2 procedures to solve the matter at hand.

Relations of History in Psychology in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” to the outside world

Kahneman fails to tackle the nature of logic philosophically. Instead, Kahneman offers a supply of compelling records of what may be considered the goal of finding out what it means to be happy. The philosophical aspect of questions concerning happiness is an example of what Kahneman failed to tackle. During the mid-1990s, Kahneman adopted the question about true happiness for the first time.

Most psychological researches involving happiness carried out during the mid-1990s entailed asking people whether they were contented with their lives or not (Kahneman, 2012, p. 89). However, such reflective evaluations rely on the memory of the interviewee. Memory is a notoriously unreliable factor for determining happiness.

Today’s researchers focus on understanding the pain or pleasure that a person in contemporary society endures. These experiences are usually sampled progressively and then summarized after a certain period (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 108).

Kahneman is an example of such a researcher. According to Kahneman, the experienced welfare of a person is not the same as the memory welfare. Psychologists in the past depended on the memory welfare to conduct studies (Kahneman, 2012, p. 412). Kahneman uncovers the deviation of two agencies of happiness in surprising methods.

The happiness of the experiencing conscious of a person is not the same as the happiness of the remembering conscious of the same person. Psychologists in contemporary society think of the remembering consciousness as part of the human mind that disregards duration.

Instead, this part of the human mind all together ranks an experience by the highest level of pain or desire during the experience. This part of the human mind also ranks an experience by how it ends.

Following Kahneman’s work in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” highlights numerous matters about judgment and decision-making in psychology. Researchers who have had a chance to co-teach with Kahneman to aspiring psychologists and researchers today admit the precision of his work.

Exploring decision-making and judgment in psychology did not provide an incorporated story about psychology during the 1960s (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 116). Instead, researchers today have a single book that can define the wide psychology fundamental to the judgment and decision-making subject. Apparently, a lot of work remains in hedonic psychology (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 129).

However, Kahneman’s abstract creations form the basis for a lot of experiential results recorded in the book. For example, Kahneman discovered that French mothers take pleasure in the less time spent with their children than American mothers, who spend a lot of time with their children (Kahneman, 2012, p. 165).

Kahneman also realized that poor people are affected by headaches more hedonically than middle or upper class society. Such findings may interest lawmakers seeking to decrease the unhappiness index of contemporary society.

Kahneman presents his own perspective of the history of judgment in psychology. Kahneman introduces a pleasant overview of how early work concentrated on demonstrating biases (Kahneman, 2012, p. 183). The book credits Slovic, Lichtenstein, and Fischhoff for the application of these angles to understand this field of psychology. Behavioral decision studies have spread to a lot of academic and policy realms in contemporary society.

This is one of the key reasons the book present a lot of research knowledge relevant to a wide array of fields and professions today (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 61). At the same time, it is clear that Kahneman’s evaluation of the present state of decision-making and judgment under psychology is closely related to the differentiation of System 1 and 2.

The personal scholarly journey described in Kahneman’s book is the glue that turns the book into a captivating tale. Kahneman’s personal journey uses a lot of reflections on his alliance with Tversky. The experiences made during this journey are relevant to the objective and mission of the book, as well as the subject.

This is because the findings made during this journey shaped the outline of the book, making its content groundbreaking. For instance, Kahneman calls “the Linda Problem” the renowned and most debated tests he carried out with Tversky (Kahneman, 2012, p. 153). Subjects of this experiment were informed about an imagined young woman, Linda.

The subjects were also told that, as a learner, Linda deeply worried about problems of prejudice and social inequality. Afterwards, the subjects were asked to say whether Linda was a bank clerk or a bank clerk who was also active in a feminist organization.

The majority response was that Linda is most probably a bank clerk who also participates actively in a feminist movement (Kahneman, 2012, p. 155). Therefore, when Kahneman furnished Linda’s background details with knowledge about her perception of discrimination, a feminist bank clerk was more probable than an ordinary bank clerk.


A lot of investigations need to be piloted to understand judgment and decision-making in psychology. Nonetheless, Kahneman’s theoretical perceptions about the historical perspective in hedonic psychology made breakthroughs for a lot of experiential results reported in “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” There are a lot of insights that exist outside the system of Kahneman’s work.

Today’s researchers focus on understanding the pain or pleasure that a person in contemporary society endures (Fancher & Rutherford, 2012, p. 95).

However, the development reported in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” presents insight in a much more optimistic angle than a lot of researchers expected to acquire from studying biases in the past. Following Kahneman’s work in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” highlights numerous matters about judgment and decision-making in psychology.


Fancher, R. E., & Rutherford, A. (2012). Pioneers of Psychology, 4th edition. Boston: W W Norton & Company Incorporated.

Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Penguin Books Limited.

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