Let me start with this: If I understand System 1-thinking at all, then it refers to a kind of automatic/unconscious thinking. On this level tendencies become high probabilities, I’d guess. So yeah. “Naturally” you might be a maximizer or satisficer. But: If we can change the strategy by employing triggers and retrain habits, then we have to be careful. Because this kind of retraining might happen through a suitable environment unintentionally. Can I become a natural Maximizer from a natural Satisficer? Maybe. But then: Why call it natural? Why not call it temporary?
Great stuff. Really enjoyed thinking about this. And I agree: We guess, we correct. We acquire knowledge. We learn what works, etc. But it’s all guessing. And it’s good to diversify the strategies. I agree with that too. And I furthermore agree that if there would only be those two options, then it’s inescapable that you’d want both approaches available to you.
(Also we could go down the rabbit hole of what if satisficers would differentiate themselves in much more productive ways after maximizers are gone, which in turn would produce much more progress then the current dichotomy could, etc. Not that interesting, I think, but still another way to continue this thread of the discussion…)
What I have a hard time to reconcile is that even a tendency of doing things a certain way doesn’t mean that maximizing and satisficing are more than strategies. And if they are strategies then any person can use any of those depending on what makes the most sense (or nonsense, which in the context of progress might be a good thing). But this means that a tendency of doing one thing over the other isn’t really the last word on the problem. It’s just that: A tendency, that we can choose to give into or not. Technology and policy can help to control this (at least somewhat, maybe even enough). I hope I could show that we can distinguish the question of what is the “best” strategy for acquiring knowledge from personality traits at least a little bit.
About that study:
On the Heritability of Consumer Decision Making: An Exploratory Approach for Studying Genetic Effects on Judgment and Choice
(Disclaimer: I have read the abstract. And what is said in the wikipedia article.)
If I understand this at all correctly this study talks about self-reported cases and talks about personality traits. I have voiced my concerns regarding self reporting these things (since maximizing is satisficing somewhere else). And at least to me it seems that ending with personality traits seems incomplete (or an oversimplification as I tried to say earlier), if an interesting starting point for a lot more work/discussion.
About the ‘work’ to be done (“empirical studies” and all that):
Yeah. It was a truly clumsy way to put this. It was probably even wrong. As somebody who has studied history of science and technology I should know better. I just tried to underline that we can accumulate a lot of complexity and uncertainty about our conjectures regarding this. Which is, generally speaking, a good thing! In other words: There is potential here! But then the question is: Is it worth it? I hope I communicated that it seems to me too much of a oversimplification, since - say it with me - maximizing is satisficing somewhere else. Put differently: It’s not worth the trouble to make the distinction work. But what is worth the trouble: To think about what this simplified view articulates about a possible more complex view and work on that.
One might say that trying to make the distinction work is already the work I’m looking for. But then rejecting the distinction is part of this work in this view as well. So: yeah.
P. S. : I was confused about “System 1”/“System 2”, because they don’t seems to appear (as these words) in the linked articles (Satisficing, Maximization (Psychology)).