A Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Theory Perspective on Dual-Processing Accounts of Decision-Making under Uncertainty


Dual-processing accounts of reasoning have gained renewed attention in the past decade, particularly in the fields of social judgment, learning, and decision-making under uncertainty. Although the various accounts differ, the common thread is the distinction between two qualitatively different types of reasoning: explicit/implicit, rational/affective, fast/slow, etc. Consequently, much research has focused on characterizing the two different processes. Less extensive are the attempts to find mediators that influence which process is used. In this paper, we argue that the missing perspective on these dual-processing theories is rooted in dynamical systems theory. By shifting the perspective to the dynamic interaction and transitions between different types of reasoning, we provide a theoretical framework for dual-processing with an emphasis on phase transitions. As a special case, we focus on dual-processing in decision-making and judgment under uncertainty for which we will propose suggestions for future experimental evaluation.

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