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Understanding Dual Processing Model in Psychology

Understanding Dual Processing Model in Psychology

The Dual Processing Model in Psychology is one of the fundamental theories that deal with the human mind’s cognitive processes. This model is a theory that outlines how two different modes of thinking occur inside the brain – the intuitive and the rational mode.

On one hand, the intuitive mode is automatic, quick, and often operates subconsciously, based on experience, emotion, and instinct. On the other hand, the rational mode is a slow, reflective, and analytical type of thinking that is conscious and consistently logical.

The History of Dual Processing Model

The Dual Processing Model theory was initially developed in the 1970s by cognitive psychology scholars Keith Stanovich and Richard West. The theory’s primary objective was to understand the human information processing system and the mental processes involved in making decisions.

Two Types of Processing

There are two different types of processing that occur according to the Dual Processing Model: the intuitive system and the rational system.

Intuitive System

Intuitive processing involves rapid and automatic responses based on our previous knowledge or experiences. It is a predominantly non-conscious type of processing that is often based on emotional responses. According to the Dual Processing Model, we come across many situations in our lives that require a quick response to survive harm.

Rational System

Rational processing is a slower and deliberate process that depends on conscious thought and analysis. In this case, we use strategies like formal rules, logical reasoning, and decision-making to solve a problem.

Examples of Dual Processing Model in Everyday Life

In everyday life, we often use Dual Processing Model to make decisions and solve problems. For instance, when driving, we rely on our intuition to make quick and responsive decisions to avoid accidents. Also, when making significant financial decisions, we engage in rational processing, analyzing data, and using critical thinking skills to make an informed choice.

Controversies Surrounding Dual Processing Model

Although Dual Processing Model is accepted by many psychologists and cognitive scientists, its interpretation also attracts controversies. Some scholars argue that the theory does not fully describe human cognitive processes because it is too broad and lacks empirical evidence to support it.


The Dual Processing Model is an essential model that outlines how two different modes of thinking occur inside the brain – the intuitive and the rational mode. This theory provides a useful framework for understanding human decision-making and problem-solving processes. Understanding the different systems is useful for helping individuals make better decisions in their daily lives.