Mind & Society

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 3-13

First online:

Defining features versus incidental correlates of Type 1 and Type 2 processing

  • Keith E. StanovichAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto Email author 
  • , Maggie E. ToplakAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, York University

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Many critics of dual-process models have mistaken long lists of descriptive terms in the literature for a full-blown theory of necessarily co-occurring properties. These critiques have distracted attention from the cumulative progress being made in identifying the much smaller set of properties that truly do define Type 1 and Type 2 processing. Our view of the literature is that autonomous processing is the defining feature of Type 1 processing. Even more convincing is the converging evidence that the key feature of Type 2 processing is the ability to sustain the decoupling of secondary representations. The latter is a foundational cognitive requirement for hypothetical thinking.


Dual process theory Cognitive decoupling Autonomy