Smith, E. R., & DeCoster, J. (2000). Dual process models in social and cognitive psychology: Conceptual integration and links to underlying memory systems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 108-131.
Models postulating two distinct processing modes have been proposed in several topic areas within social and cognitive psychology. We advance a new conceptual model of the two processing modes. The structural basis of the new model is the idea, supported by psychological and neuropsychological evidence, that humans possess two memory systems. One system slowly learns general regularities, while the other can quickly form representations of unique or novel events. Associative retrieval or pattern completion in the slow-learning system elicited by a salient cue constitutes the effortless processing mode. The second processing mode is more conscious and effortful; it involves the intentional retrieval of explicit, symbolically represented rules from either memory system and their use to guide processing. After presenting our model, we review existing dual-process models in several areas, emphasizing their similar assumptions of a quick, effortless processing mode that rests on well-learned prior associations, and a second, more effortful processing mode that involves rule-based inferences and is employed only when people have both cognitive capacity and motivation. New insights and implications of the model for several topic areas are outlined.