A critic of the “two types of thinking” myth (deliberative, slow, rational, optimal vs. reactive, quick, emotional, suboptimal)

David E. Melnikoff, John A. Bargh, The Mythical Number Two, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 4, 2018, Pages 280-293, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.02.001.

It is often said that there are two types of psychological processes: one that is intentional, controllable, conscious, and inefficient, and another that is unintentional, uncontrollable, unconscious, and efficient. Yet, there have been persistent and increasing objections to this widely influential dual-process typology. Critics point out that the ‘two types’ framework lacks empirical support, contradicts well-established findings, and is internally incoherent. Moreover, the untested and untenable assumption that psychological phenomena can be partitioned into two types, we argue, has the consequence of systematically thwarting scientific progress. It is time that we as a field come to terms with these issues. In short, the dual-process typology is a convenient and seductive myth, and we think cognitive science can do better.

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