Chapter 5 DualProcess Models
King (1963) three ingredients
1. Belief that people may typically rely on categorical thinking, but can exert the
flexibility of will and mind to be more objective and effortful, is the basic premise of
dual process models.
On one hand, processes of social cognition involve a reliance on stereotypes,
heuristics, categories, schemas, and “halftruths”. This is topdown or theory
People can exhibit quite a good deal of creative analysis and objective
appraisal in thinking about others. People use significant cognitive work
toward resolving the inconsistency. They do not rely on prior theories,
stereotypes and heuristics, but examine the qualities of each individual when
constructing an impression. Effortful and elaborate processing of information
about an individual personalization, elaboration, systematic processing, and
attributeoriented processing. Because impressions are being built from the
observed data, such processing is called bottomup or datadriven processing.
2. What motivates people to shift from the comfort and ease of topdown processing to
exerting effort required of systematic processing?
Tension (psychological, not physical) forces them to analyze others carefully and
reanalyze their own prior views.
3. Model of impression formation: What triggers tension in the mind of the perceiver and
initiates the shift from schematic and stereotypic processing to individuating and
Initiated by the behavior of the person being perceived. If the person being
perceived by others can act in a manner that is opposed to prevalent biases, stereotypes,
and expectancies, then it forces the people doing the perceiving to confront the fact that
their theorydriven approaches to understanding this person are not working. A SAMPLER OF DUALPROCESS MODELS
Brewer’s Dualprocess model of impression formation
Brewer (1988) coined the term dualprocess model, in describing a comprehensive theory
of the processes involved in impression formation. ▯look at lecture diagram
Capture the presence of a target stimulus and identify the basic features that
the target is eliciting. Thus without any conscious effort by us as perceivers,
some form of information is perceptually salient enough to cue a social
category ▯ e.g. race and age.
Sometimes the categorizations we make by this process of matching
observable features of a target to our existing mental presentations of “person
types” are wrong. We may assume a person speaking English without an
accent is American.
• Determining Relevance
If a person we have encountered is irrelevant to our current goals and purpose, then
further processing, and the expenditure of cognitive effort to think about this person, is
not necessary. Impression formation processes are halted.
If a person is deemed somewhat relevant ad this can range from a minor degree of
relevance to major degree of interest then impression formation processes are triggered.
Whether or not we dedicate any energy to thinking about a person and process
further information about the person depends on goals (i.e. relevance of the
Once the target has been deemed relevant, processing that is automatic is no longer
engaged. There is a shift toward processing that fails to meet all of the criteria for an
automatic process ( any processing that requires a goal for its initiation, as opposed to the
mere presence of a stimulus in the environment, is not considered automatic.
Motives do not only determine whether we proceed to think about others; they also
determine how we proceed to think about them. Brewer (1988) has referred to this
relatively effortless type of thinking, which is anchored and directed exclusively by the
categories that have been (rather passively) triggered, as categorization or typing.
In this type of impression formation, our judgments about a person are based
on available “person types” or schemas that are matched to the information at
hand about the person being evaluated. A patternmatching process is conducted until an adequate fit is found
between one of the person types or categories stored in memory and the
The process starts with a general category, and if there is no match, subtypes
of general category that provide more specific types are compared against the
The categorization also depends on the level of abstraction within the category
structure the feature matching process begins.
• Individuation and Personalization
Individuation processing info we receive about a person that is inconsistent with the
category label is not disregarded; nor is a more specific subtype of the category called
into play to describe the person. Instead, the individual is treated as an isolated case or a
specific instance of the particular category. Thus the qualities of the individual are
processed in detail not for the purpose of making that individual fit well with the
existing features of the category, but to create a specific and detailed novel instance of the
Personalization There are times, however, when no form of categorybased processing is
deemed appropriate by us as perceivers. It is at these moments that the model suggests a
wholly different form of processing in both format and organizational structure. At the
point in the process, the individual becomes the basis for organizing information. Here
the category label is no longer superordinate, and the individual’s attributes serve as the
organizing framework for understanding that individual.
Exactly what sort of conditions led us as perceivers to conclude that no form
of categorybased processing is appropriate. Brewer asserts that
personalization implies some degree of affective investment on the part of the
perceiver. If someone is similar to us, we are less likely to rely simply on
categorybased processing and more likely to expand the mental energy to
personalize him/her. This also applies to those who share similar goals with
The Heuristicsystematic model (HSM)
Chaiken et al., 1989
According to the HSM, people’s thinking about themselves and others can be described
in terms of two broad information-processing strategies. These two strategies are often
described as end- points on a continuum of processing effort that can be exerted in
• Two processing modes Continuum of processing effort that is anchored by heuristic and systematic processing.
At one end of the continuum is the relatively effortless heuristic processing a
reliance on prior knowledge such as schemas, stereotypes, and expectancies
that can be imposed on information so it will easily fit into existing structures.
People rely on superficial assessment thereby preserving their processing
People use heuristics, shortcuts, and rules of thumb in thinking about their
social world. These are learnt through experiences in the social world, and are
readily called to action when people encounter a cue in the environment that
signals the relevance of one of the previously learned rules or responses.
- E.g. past experiences indicate that a person whose point of view achieves a
wide consensus among others is often a person whose point of view is correct.
Armed with this “Consensus implies correct- ness” heuristic, perceivers may
react to future encounters with a majority position on an issue in a heuristic
fashion. They can superficially assess the situation by relying on the rule of
thumb, forming an opinion in a top-down fashion without scrutinizing the
actual arguments used by the majority in advocating their position. Thus, if
most people agree with something, these perceivers will agree with it too,
using the consensus as the basis for their opinion.
The other end of the continuum is systematic processing. Involves a detailed
evaluation of the qualities and behaviors of others, as well as the
reexamination of personal thoughts and prior beliefs about the stimulus. This
is pretty much the same as stuff for effortful processing- by don the great.
Involves detailed, bottom-up evaluation of the qualities and behaviours of
Requires that we analyze and update our current thoughts and prior beliefs
about the stimulus.
• The Leasteffort principle
When performing a cognitive task, people prefer less mental effort to more mental effort.
This suggest that the default processing strategy will be the one requiring the least
amount of effort and usurping the least amount of capacity the heuristic route
Petty, Cacioppo, and Schuman (1983) provided an illustration of people using
heuristics as a default strategy. Examined why people are persuaded by
celebrities who endorse a product in a commercial. The logic was that seeing a
celebrity leads people to rely on simple rules of impression formation, such as
famous people are trustworthy
Participants read about a razor that was being endorsed by either a sports star
or an unknown person. There were two potential sources of influence in this situation. Participants could read the text of the endorsement carefully and
evaluate the product based on its merits, or they could superficially evaluate
the product and rely on the word of the endorser. If participants were using the
former strategy, they should find the product equally good, regardless of
whether the celebrity or the “regular guy” was the person endorsing it. If they
were relying on heuristics, the celebrity should be much more persuasive at
selling the product than the “regular guy,” even if the text of their sales pitch
was the same. The results revealed that rather than using the text to guide
impressions, the participants did indeed use a heuristic about the person
delivering the text. Thus instead of evaluating people and products in detail,
scrutinizing their qualities, people rely on simple and easy rules.
• The Sufficiency Principle
Asserts that for whatever task people are confronted withwhether it be forming an
impression of someone, planning how to act toward someone planning how to act toward
someone there is a point at which they feel that their task is completed and they can
move on to the next task at hand.
This point is said to be achieved when the individuals feel confident they have
sufficiently performed the task that was set before them. This point of
sufficient confidence that allows for a feeling of task completion can be
conceived of as a threshold a sufficiency threshold.
People are sometimes just happy simply to have moderate amounts of
confidence in their judgments and feelings, so long as they feel it is enough
confidence to warrant relying on those judgments/feelings in their
• The relationship between effort and sufficiency
The sufficiency principle asserts that although people prefer least effort, they must exert
enough effort to reach the sufficiency threshold. If people desire the feeling that their
judgments are good enough, they will only rely on heuristics in forming judgments if
those heuristics deliver to them a sense of judgmental confidence. Heuristics provide
sufficient responses to allow people to navigate through social interactions. If people are
happy with feeling sufficiently confident that they have acted in a reasonable manner,
then they do not need to engage in any further processing of information.
However if the heuristic produce falls short of the threshold people will exert more effort
and continue working on the task at hand until a feeling of sufficiency is achieved and the
threshold is surpassed. Thus, the leasteffort principle exists because using less effort
(relying on heuristics) typically gives people a sense that they have formed judgments in
which they are sufficiently confident.
• Confidence gap When relying on least effort principle, it yields judgmental products that are not
sufficient that fall below the sufficiency threshold thus a confidence gap exists.
Said to be experienced by the perceivers as an uncomfortable and displeasing state of
psychological tension. Perceivers are motivated to reduce the state and eliminate the gap
between their current level and desired level of confidence.
Hydrauliclike relationship lacking confidence in judgment increases in effort that
yields or produces these judgments. Thus the confidence gap can be reduced as one
makes the transition from the leasteffort principle’s reliance on minimal processing
effort to expending more effort. Perceivers will now process information in a more
• The motivation to make the transition from less to more effort
Impact of heuristic processing on judgments will be greatest when motivation for
systematic processing is low.
What is required to trigger the systematic processing?
1. Undermining one’s confidence in a judgment
At one point in time people might be confident in their use of a stereotype or a
heuristic, only to feel unsatisfied with the judgments based on such minimal
processing at a later point in time. In fact, this can occur (1) without a desire
for any greater confidence than before, and (2) when the amount of
confidence desired is quite low.
Basically- you have high confidence with the heuristic judgment and
conclusion, but one event can destroy your confidence and bring it down
below the sufficiency threshold. Thereby motivating the perceiver to exert
more effort with systematic processing.
Macheswaran and Chaiken (1991)- examined this point by looking at how
consumers respond to advertising messages. Participants were asked to read about
and evaluate a new product, the “XT-100” answering machine.
They were told that previous consumers liked the product very much. Thus these
participants were now probably ready to evaluate the product fairly positively,
regardless of what information they were actually given about the product.
However, there was one proposed catch to this logic. If it turned out that the information describing the
product was fairly negative, this would undermine participants’ confidence in the heuristic. Most people
were said to like the product, yet the information participants received about it would be highly incongruent
with this claim. This unexpected information, inconsistent with the heuristic, should induce doubt and
uncertainty in participants who were simply relying on the heuristic. Confidence in the heuristic should be
lowered so that it fell below the sufficiency threshold. Contrast this with what should happen when participants received fairly positive information about the XT100. In this case, they had an expectancy that
the product will be good; they were predisposed to like the product because their heuristics informed them
that it would be a good product; and a superficial assessment f the information provided (minimal
processing effort) should inform them that all of this was correct—the product was fairly positively
reviewed. Thus, in this case people should have no need to exert too much effort in evaluating the product,
relative to the people who were led to lack trust or confidence in their heuristicbased processing.
Maheswaran and Chaiken (1991) examined these hypotheses by manipulating whether participants
received information about the XT100 that was consistent or inconsistent with their heuristicbased
expectancies. The information was said to have been provided by a producttesting agency’s report that
compared the XT100 with competing brands. People receiving congruent information (a positive report on
the XT100) should feel free to process heuristically and exert relatively little processing effort when doing
their evaluation of the product. People receiving incongruent information (a negative report on the XT100)
should lack confidence in heuristic processing and engage in more systematic processing (exerting greater
processing effort). How could the researchers detect whether people were using heuristic versus systematic
processing, exerting little versus much processing effort? The report had detailed information about how
the product performed, as well as quite general, overall summary statements about the quality of the
product. The logic of this experiment hinged on the idea that if people were systematically processing the
message, they would pay much more attention to the details in the report, thinking about the XT100’s
performance on these specific dimensions. Heuristic processors would focus instead on more general
thoughts that summarized the overall quality of the product.
The results provided support for the notion that when confidence in a judgment falls below a sufficiency
threshold, systematic processing is triggered. First, people who received the unexpectedly negative report
about the XT100 reported having signifi cantly less confidence in their rating of the XT100 than people
who saw a report that coincided well with the consensus information. Second, when people were asked
how much confidence they desired to have, people who received the unexpectedly negative report about the
XT100 and people who saw a report that coincided well with the con sensus information both expressed
similar amounts of desired confidence; their suffi ciency thresholds were equal. Combining these two
points, the groups had equal amounts of confidence they desired to have in their judgment, and the
members of one group (the people with confirmed expectancies) had an actual level of confidence that was
sufficient in that it did not differ from the confidence they desired. The members of the other group,
however, desired a level of confidence they lacked (because of the inconsistency between the report and the
consensus of the people surveyed). Finally, the most important question of the experiment addressed what
type of information pro cessing was used. As predicted, people who lacked sufficient confidence in their
judg ment engaged in more thinking about the qualities and attributes of the product being evaluated. They
gave more attention to and thought more explicitly about the details of the report than people who had
sufficient confidence. They were also better able to remember these details when unexpectedly asked to try
to recall the details of the report at the end of the experiment. Lowered confidence in the product of their
heuristicbased processing triggered a confidence gap that motivated people to process systematically,
despite the fact that the amount of confidence they desired was fairly stable. Actual confidence merely
slipped below this sufficiency threshold and motivated people to think more deeply.
In sum, one way to trigger systematic processing, and to shake perceivers from the
comfort of thinking heuristically and effortlessly about others, is to present those
perceivers with information (behavior) that is so inconsistent with their prior
expectancies that they can no longer rely on those expectancies alone. Such behavior
removes the perceivers’ability to ignore or superficially assess the stimulus, and
undermines the confidence they once held in the judgments yielded by their stereotypes
and heuristics. 2. Raising the Sufficiency threshold
Perceiver can willfully adopt goals that promote systematic processing.
Bruner- People are motivated to initiate elaborate processing because they
desire greater certainty in their judgments than least-effort processing will
Instead of having low sufficiency threshold, people are being flexible enough
to occasionally set high sufficiency thresholds that require elaborate
Confidence gap is created because the perceiver’s desired level of confidence
is drifting upwards. Therefore the judgments produced by heuristic processing
would not be experienced as good enough.
• 3 Types of goals that lead to increased sufficiency threshold
1. Vested interest or personal involvement
Borgida and Howard-Pitney (1983)- had perceivers listen to a debate on a topic that
they believed was either relevant or not relevant to them personally. Specifically,
personal involvement was manipulated by varying whether the participants believed
they would be personally affected by a proposed change in the undergraduate course
all their attention was focused on one person in the debate whom they heard
arguing for one side of the issue. When personal involvement was low,
students rated the salient person more favorably, regardless of whether that
person was for or against the proposed changes. they are using heuristics to
dictate the giving preferred status to salient people.
When personal involvement was high, the ratings of the salient person now
depended on what the position the person took regarding the curriculum
Thus, when perceivers had heightened motivational concerns regarding a
topic, salience effects were attenuated. Raising the sufficiency threshold so
that the perceivers desired greater confidence in their judgment shifted their
processing strategy from top-of-the-head processing to more systematic
processing. 2. Accountability
Agoal, where people are motivated by public scrutiny and evaluation of what
E.g. when someone evaluates your performance, amount of time and effort is
likely to be greater than if you were not held accountable for your work.
However, accountability does not always lead to more accurate thinking, but it
leads to the kind of thinking desired by the audience to which the cognizer is
Tetlock (1983)- examined the impact on judgment of being held account by
assessing the degree to which people engage in heuristic vs. systematic processing
in situations where they are held accountable vs. not accountable.
Main focus was on primacy effect- earlier info has a greater impact on judgment
than later info.
- The key assumption of the study was that accountable participants would be less
susceptible to primacy effects because of how they encoded information.
Accountable, as opposed to unaccountable, participants should be more cautious
about drawing inferences from incomplete evidence. This should lead them to
attend to more information and analyze that information more carefully. Because
of such vigilance in processing, they should be able to recall more of the
information at a later point in time. Consistent with these predictions,
unmotivated people exhibited primacy effects in forming impressions, placing
greater emphasis on information presented early. However, people who were told
prior to receiving any information that they would be accountable for their
impressions were immune to being influenced by the order in which that
information was presented. In addition, measures of how much information was
recalled revealed that accountability led to better memory for information.
3. Accuracy motive
Certain situations explicitly call for this goal, such as a teacher marking an
Other situations merely suggest (imply) that accuracy is important, such as
working with other people to attain some mutual goal.
When one person is dependent on another individual to obtain a desired
outcome, and that outcome cannot be attained through the person’s own effort
alone, the person is said to be in a state of outcome dependency.
Neuberg and Fiske (1987) experiment 2- examined two outcome dependency
alters people’s reliance on heuristic, categorical, and effortless processing. They reasoned that when a negative expectancy is associated with a particular
category, people typically evaluate members of that category by using the