Our brain performs many functions without us even knowing. Many cognitive psychologists have tried to understand how our mind works, but many ideas were impractical. However, about 25 years ago, Daniel Kahneman presented the frame work of two processes in brain functioning. Kahneman claims there are two systems; The first system (system 1) takes care of our automatic thinking and our instantanious decision making, while the second system (system 2) is constantly working in the subconsious as a back up for system one to rely on. System one provides a fast intuitive reaction to answers like knowing your birthday or cellphone number. System two carries the heavy load of mental functioning. System two is involved with focusing, reasoning or analysis; System two is important for calculating complex math problems, exercising self-control and performing cognitive, emotional and physical tasks.
An example of how our two processes work together: You and your friends are watching a movie and a familiar character on screen. The instant you see the actors face your system one recognizes the facial feature and begins to search the mind for the name of the actor and movies they were in. While your mind searches for the answers, you begin to use your system two focusing on the actor’s face, but you cannot remember the name. Your system one has just relied on system two as a fallback for not immediately knowing the answer.
To take this example a bit further, it is interesting to know that our system two seems to never stop working. Back to the same example – It’s a few days after watching the movie and you never did remember the name of that actor. You could be sitting in class and the name will pop into your head and you will randomly remember the name of the actor and all the movies you saw them in. This is because your system two is constantly working, even after you think you’ve taken your focus off of the task, you’ve subconsciously remembered the answer. Just remember to take the time to focus and the answers will come to you!