Dual system and dual process views of the human mind have contrasted automatic, fast, and non-conscious with controlled, slow, and conscious thinking. This paper integrates duality models from the perspective of consumer psychology by identifying three relevant theoretical strands: Persuasion and attitude change (e.g. Elaboration Likelihood Model), judgment and decision making (e.g. Intuitive vs. Reflective Model), as well as buying and consumption behavior (e.g. Reflective-Impulsive Model). Covering different aspects of consumer decision making, we discuss the conditions under which different types of processes are evoked, how they interact and how they apply to consumers’ processing of marketing messages, the evaluation of product-related information, and purchasing behavior. We further compare and contrast theoretical strands and incorporate them with the literature on attitudes, showing how duality models can help us understand implicit and explicit attitude formation in consumer psychology. Finally, we offer future research implications for scholars in consumer psychology and marketing.
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The distinction between dual process and dual systems theories is mainly one of scope, with dual systems views essentially conceptualizing the operations of two “minds” under which dual processes are subsumed.
As of October 2012, a Google Scholar search for the keywords ‘Petty Elaboration Likelihood’ returned 17,200 results, and only 7,560 for a search with keywords ‘Chaiken Heuristic Systematic’.
The judgment and decision making area of research has given rise to other dual process models, most notably ‘fuzzy trace’ theory (Reyna 2004). This model’s origins were relatively specialized and domain-specific (risk perception in the domain of health) and it has to our knowledge not been adopted by researchers interested in consumer decision making.
In option framing, consumers tend to choose a higher number of options when using a delete mode (starting from a fully loaded model, then removing undesirable options) vs. an add mode (starting from a base model, and then adding desirable options). A study by Biswas (2009) showed this bias to be more pronounced when participants were motivated to make decisions in a strictly emotional rather than a logical manner.
PDP is a methodological tool designed to separate the contributions from automatic and controlled processes by means of an inclusion condition (both processes acting together) and exclusion condition (processes acting separately). Whereas problems used in judgment research are usually exclusion problems (a S1 response is in opposition to a S2 response, for example, one product with a high base failure rate resembling another product with a lower rate), inclusion versions can be constructed by changing the original version so that S1 and S2 judgments lead to the same response output.
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We are grateful for the helpful feedback received from the anonymous reviewers and thank Malte Friese, Bianca Pryor, Anna Steidle, and Anila Masons for their comments on previous versions of this article.
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Samson, A., Voyer, B.G. Two minds, three ways: dual system and dual process models in consumer psychology. AMS Rev 2, 48–71 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13162-012-0030-9
- Dual systems
- Dual process models
- Judgment and decision making
- Heuristics and biases
- Attitude change
- Consumer behavior
- Impulsive buying
- Marketing psychology