Dual Processing Theory
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Dual Process Theory
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And this is entirely natural. System 2 thinking requires a lot more effort, and a lot more focus. And this means that to use System 2, individuals normally need to be more motivated. The more you can use system 2 thinking yourself, the better the decisions that you make will probably be. And similarly, the more you can help your team use system 2 thinking, the better their decisions will probably be. The way we think, behave and decide is fascinating. Ideas like cognitive biases and nudging may be of interest. We also think that that understanding your thinking and decision making processes see metacognition may help improve your emotional intelligence , motivation and increase your happiness.
Unfortunately, some people use their knowledge of how others think and decide for their own ends. When nudging is used for these purposes is it known as sludge. You can listen to our conversation about hope people try and influence consumer behaviors below:. We love dual process theory. Discussing the distinction between the two different systems with your team may be a helpful exercise. Please contact us with any feedback you have on this post. We often rely on our "automatic settings" and allow intuitions to guide our behaviour and judgement. In "manual mode", judgments draw from both general knowledge about "how the world works" and explicit understanding of special situational features.
The operations of this "manual mode" system requires effortful conscious deliberation. Greene concedes that his analogy has limited force. While a photographer can switch back-and-forth between automatic and manual mode, the automatic-intuitive processes of human reasoning are always active: conscious deliberations needs to "override" our intuitions. In addition to that, automatic settings of our brains are not necessarily "hard-wired", but can be changed through cultural learning. There is lack of agreement on whether and how the two processes interact with one another.
These alternative interpretations point to different models of interaction: a serial or "default-interventionist" model, and a parallel model. Serial models assume that there is initially an exclusive focus on the intuitive system to make judgements but that this default processing might be followed by deliberative processing at a later stage. Greene et al. Models of the former category lend support to the view that humans, in an effort to minimise cognitive effort, will choose to refrain from the more demanding deliberative system where possible. Only utilitarian responders will have opted into it. This further implies that deontological responders will not experience any conflict from the "utilitarian pull" of the dilemma: they have not engaged in the processing that gives rise to these considerations in the first place.
In contrast, in a parallel model both utilitarian and deontological responders will have engaged both processing systems. Deontological responders recognise that they face conflicting responses, but they do not engage in deliberative processing to a sufficient extent to enable them to override the intuitive deontological response. Within generic dual process research, some scientists have argued that serial and parallel models fail to capture the true nature of the interaction between dual process systems.
Greene uses fMRI to evaluate the brain activities and responses of people confronted with different variants of the famous Trolley problem in ethics. There are 2 versions of trolley problem. They are trolley driver dilemma and footbridge dilemma presented as follows. On the tracks extending to the left is a group of five railway workmen. On the tracks extending to the right is a single railway workman. If you do nothing the trolley will proceed to the left, causing the deaths of the five workmen. The only way to avoid the deaths of these workmen is to hit a switch on your dashboard that will cause the trolley to proceed to the right, causing the death of the single workman.
Is it appropriate for you to hit the switch in order to avoid the deaths of the five workmen? You are on a footbridge over the tracks, in between the approaching trolley and the five workmen. Next to you on this footbridge is a stranger who happens to be very large. The only way to save the lives of the five workmen is to push this stranger off the bridge and onto the tracks below where his large body will stop the trolley. The stranger will die if you do this, but the five workmen will be saved. Is it appropriate for you to push the stranger onto the tracks in order to save the five workmen? Greene  and his colleagues carried out fMRI experiments in order to investigate which regions of the brain were activated in subjects while responding to 'personal dilemmas' such as the footbridge dilemma and 'impersonal dilemmas' such as the switch dilemma.
All other dilemmas were classed as 'impersonal'. In recent work, Greene has stated that the Amygdala is primarily responsible for the emotional response, whilst the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex is responsible for weighing up the consequentialist response against the emotional response. Thus, three brain regions are primarily implicated in the making of moral judgements. Greene points to a large body of evidence from cognitive science suggesting that inclination to deontological or consequentialist judgment depends on whether emotional-intuitive reactions or more calculated ones were involved in the judgment-making process.
Being under cognitive load while making a moral judgement decreases consequentialist responses. When asked to explain or justify their responses, subjects preferentially chose consequentialist principles — even for explaining characteristically deontological responses. Further evidence shows that consequentialist responses to trolley-problem-like dilemmas are associated with deficits in emotional awareness in people with alexithymia or psychopathic tendencies. Subjects exhibited increased activity in these brain regions when presented with situations involving the use of personal force e. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal lobe are 'cognitive' brain regions; subjects show increased activity in these two regions when presented with impersonal moral dilemmas.
Arguments for the dual process theory relying on neuroimaging data have been criticized for their reliance on reverse inference. Neuropsychological evidence from lesion studies focusing on patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex also points to a possible dissociation between emotional and rational decision processes. Damage to this area is typically associated with antisocial personality traits and impairments of moral decision making. A popular medical case, studied in particular by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio ,  was that of American railroad worker Phineas Gage.
He became vulgar and anti-social: "Where he had once been responsible and self-controlled, now he was impulsive, capricious, and unreliable". Further studies by means of neuroimaging showed a correlation between such "moral" and character transformations and injuries to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. In his book Descartes' Error , commenting on Phineas Gage case, Damasio said that after the accident the railroad worker was able "To know, but not to feel. But we think it better to save five rather than one life. And the feeling and the thought are distinct. Another critical piece of evidence supporting the dual process account comes from reaction time data associated with moral dilemma experiments.
Subjects who choose the "utilitarian" path in moral dilemmas showed increased reaction times under high cognitive load in "personal" dilemmas, while those choosing the "deontological" path remained unaffected. The dual process theory is often given an evolutionary rationale in this basic sense, the theory is an example of evolutionary psychology. For instance, he mentions the "common or natural cause of our passions" and the generation of love for others represented through self-sacrifice for the greater good of the group. Hume's work is sometimes cited as an inspiration for contemporary dual process theories. Darwin's evolutionary theory gives a better descriptive process for how these moral norms are derived from evolutionary processes and natural selection.
This provides a better explanation of the cost-benefit ratio for the generation of love for others as originally mentioned by Hume. Another example of an evolutionarily derived norm is justice , which is born out of the ability to detect those who cheat. Peter Singer explains justice from the evolutionary perspective by stating the instinct of reciprocity improved fitness for survival, therefore those who did not reciprocate were considered cheaters and cast-off from the group. Peter Singer agrees with Greene that consequentialist judgements are to be favored over deontological judgements. According to him, moral constructivism searches for reasonable grounds whereas deontological judgements rely on hasty and emotional responses.
A normative ethic must not be evaluated by the extent to which it matches those moral intuitions. He gives the example of a brother and sister who secretly decide to have sex with each other using contraceptives. Our first intuitive reaction is a firm condemnation of incest as morally wrong. However, a consequentialist judgement brings another conclusion. As the brother and sister did not tell anyone and they used contraceptives, the incest did not have any harmful consequences. Thus, in that case, incest is not necessarily wrong. Singer relies on evolutionary theories to justify his claim. For most of our evolutionary history, human beings have lived in small groups where violence was ubiquitous.
Deontological judgements linked to emotional and intuitive responses were developed by human beings as they were confronted with personal and close interactions with others. In the past century, our social organizations were altered and so these types of interactions have become less frequent. Therefore, Singer argues that we should rely on more sophisticated consequentialist judgements that fit better in our modern times than the deontological judgements that were useful for more rudimentary interactions. Several scientific criticisms have been leveled against the dual process account. Although patients with this damage display characteristically "cold-blooded" behaviour in the trolley problem, they show more likelihood of endorsement of emotionally laden choices in the Ultimatum Game.
Other criticisms focus on the methodology of using moral dilemmas such as the trolley problem. Psychologist Paul Bloom argues this is harmful because we can be easily corrupted by immoral social norms and this is how atrocities like slavery were justified. The Righteous Mind , Jonathan Haidt. Concepts List of concepts. Economics concepts. Dual Process Theory How should we use our 2 systems of thought: gut-feeling, and rational thought? What is dual process theory of reasoning?