STUDY ALERT: Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate

April 20, 2014 in Study Alerts

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate 

Jonathan St. B. T. Evans1 and Keith E. Stanovich 

Dual-process and dual-system theories in both cognitive and social psychology have been subjected to a number of recently published criticisms. However, they have been attacked as a category, incorrectly assuming there is a generic version that applies to all. We identify and respond to 5 main lines of argument made by such critics. We agree that some of these arguments have force against some of the theories in the literature but believe them to be overstated. We argue that the dual-processing distinction is supported by much recent evidence in cognitive science. Our preferred theoretical approach is one in which rapid autonomous processes (Type 1) are assumed to yield default responses unless intervened on by distinctive higher order reasoning processes (Type 2). What defines the difference is that Type 2 processing supports hypothetical thinking and load heavily on working memory.

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