Understanding Self-Regulation, Heuristics

Topic: Decision Making
Words: 562 Pages: 2


Self-regulation is the process of critically viewing a situation prior to decision-making, and includes the skills of reflection, assessment and evaluation. In cases of problem-solving, self-regulation serves as the final step that should be taken in order to consider the consequences of making a specific decision.

System-1 and System-2 Thinking

System-1 thinking is a decision-making process based on the principle of making quick intuitive decisions in dangerous or familiar situations. System-2 thinking, on the other hand, is a system of critical thinking that requires additional reassessment of an unfamiliar situation and not as much reliability on past experiences. In that way, I would use System-1 thinking to greet my classmates in college and colleagues at work every day. The daily procedure would not require prolonged critical thinking and eventually would turn into a habit, a characteristic of the thinking system. It would be appropriate as saying “hello” should not be overanalyzed and complex. Next, I would use System-2 thinking to reflect on my educational experience and search for a fitting part-time job to be in the same field. This experience would require reflective and analytical skills to come to the desired outcome (Facione & Gittens, 2013). Hence, it would be far more appropriate to utilize than System-2 thinking.


A heuristic is a cognitive shortcut that allows receiving and analysing incoming information faster and more efficiently, saving mental energy. Heuristics are often used by people without them even realizing it. An example of a personal life heuristic would be quickly deciding on a mode of transportation considering past experiences of driving or walking. In the case of bad weather, a cognitive shortcut will link the image of bad weather to a more successful route from the previous rainy day. This example demonstrates a positive effect of heuristic thinking as it suggests the time-preserving nature of the process. At the same time, frequent use of mental shortcuts can lead to minimal reflective action and consequential unreliable extraction of information

Dominance Structuring

Dominance structuring is one’s tendency to remain confident with their decision made. After going through various options, it is important to be able to select one and not back down. In regards to critical thinking, this process can be quite detrimental to the analytical and reflective skills involved. In that way, when a person is overly confident in their selected outcome, they may allow bias to limit any reconsideration of the other options. Self-regulation becomes an essential ability to reassess the decision-making process and seek any objective issues that may proceed as well. For example, if one chooses their career path, they may not prioritize re-evaluating this decision after a while due to dominance structuring. At the same time, additional perspectives and resources prove to be helpful in such situations as they allow other options to be considered.

Cognitive Bias

Mastery of facts and understanding of data allow additional objective information to be evaluated in critical thinking. Since System-1 includes cognitive bias cases due to its short-term mechanisms and association with memories of past experiences, the system requires objective data to improve its reliability. The skills of manipulating facts and data will also aid in perfecting the ability to make decisions with reference to external sources, a useful technique in the professional world. Therefore, System-1 thinking can be enhanced by reduction of its cognitive biases through the implementation of additional information.


Facione, P.A., & Gittens, C. A. (2013). Think Critically. Pearson.

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