Monthly Archives: May 2014

Dual Process Theories of Cognition

ThingOneThingTwoThis is the next step in my continuing trip to look at what a  dual process theory means and whether or not is a useful distinction.  This post looks at the 2013 paper that appeared in Perspectives on Psychological Science “Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate,” written by Jonathan Evans and Keith Stanovich. Their paper divides up their ideas somewhat, but for simplicity, I am pretending they speak in unison. From what I can tell, these are the current dual process review of the literature guys.

Evans and Stanovich want to show that there is a clear empirical basis for a dual-process distinction in decision making. They call these Type 1 and Type 2 processes, corresponding roughly to the  distinction between intuition and what they call  “reflection” and others call deliberation and what I call analysis. Attributes commonly claimed for the two types of processing are listed in the top part of Table 1.

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Intuition and Deliberation, One Process or Two?

heartindexThis post examines: “How distinct are intuition and deliberation? An eye-tracking analysis of instruction-induced decision modes,” written by Nina Horstmann, Andrea Ahlgrimm, and Andreas Glöckner that appeared in the August, 2009, Judgment and Decision Making. A long tradition of dual-process models postulates a clear distinction between intuition and deliberation. As Kahneman’s book title pointed out dual-process models differ, but all include Thinking Fast and Slow. By 1980 Hammond (post Cognitive Continuum) had already suggested that intuition and deliberation are not completely distinct categories of cognitive processes between which people switch. Rather, they are seen as poles of a cognitive continuum, and task factors influence how far one moves toward one or the other pole.

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Cognitive Continuum

cogcont3182333_NRP2011-524918.001The categories for this blog were taken from the table of contents of  the 1988 version of Rational Choice in an Uncertain World The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making edited by Reid Hastie and Robin Dawes. At this point, they need to be reorganized. For instance, the theory and models category, do I really know what a dual process model is? Is the cognitive continuum theory single process or dual process?  Frankly, Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 seem to constitute a weak dual process model concept. But does the difference between a dual process and a single process matter? Or is it a little like a multiple strategy or single strategy framework where even a unifying model can account for differences only by assuming different parameter values? And different parameter values constitute a structurally similar problem to strategy selection in a multiple strategies framework. (See post Automatic Decision Making) . Regardless, I am going to look at Ken Hammond’s cognitive continuum model from 1980. In followup posts, I anticipate working on dual process theories and maybe a nifty combination.

Hammond’s  cognitive continuum theory proposes that different forms of cognition (intuitive, analytical, common sense) are situated in relation to one another along a continuum that places intuitive processing at one end and analytical processing at the other. The properties of reasoning (e.g., cognitive control, awareness of cognitive ability, speed of cognitive activity) vary in degree, and the structural features of the tasks that invoke reasoning processes also vary along the continuum, according to the degree of cognitive activity they are predicted to induce.

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A Theory of Consciousness

C_MagicThis post attempts to summarize: “Toward a computational theory of conscious processing” by Stanislas Dehaene, Lucie Charles, Jean-Remi King and Sebastien Marti that appeared in Current Opinion in Neurobiology 2014, 25:76–84. Even more than normally in my posts, I should note that if this were a research paper, everything should probably be in quotations or have a footnote.  None of the ideas are mine except for my mistakes. The paper is a review of the research done so far.  The post The Global Neuronal Workspace is based on Dehaene’s work and might also be of interest.  Connectome–How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, by Sebastian Seung is extremely readable.

The paper begins with this quotation from Vladimir Nabokov: “Consciousness is the only real thing in the world and the greatest mystery of all.”  Bend Sinister (1947)

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Political Decision Making: Diversity or Systematic Error?


sysquality_sys_randomI have ignored group decision making to a large extent, but bootstrapping has somehow brought me back to it–especially dialectical bootstrapping which seems to be one person group decision making. Obviously, group decision making is important.  This post will focus on political decision making. Two books from 2007, Scott Page’s: The Difference — How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies and Bryan Caplan’s: The Myth of the Rational Voter–Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies look at it from far apart.

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