Two Minds, Three Ways: Dual System and Dual Process Theories in Consumer Psychology

Dual system and dual process views of the human mind have contrasted automatic, fast, and non-conscious with controlled, slow, and conscious thinking. This paper integrates duality models from the perspective of consumer psychology by identifying three relevant theoretical strands: Persuasion and attitude change (e.g. Elaboration Likelihood Model), judgment and decision making (e.g. Intuitive vs. Reflective Model), as well as buying and consumption behavior (e.g. Reflective-Impulsive Model). Covering different aspects of consumer decision making, we discuss the conditions under which different types of processes are evoked, how they interact and how they apply to consumers’ processing of marketing messages, the evaluation of product-related information, and purchasing behavior. We further compare and contrast theoretical strands and incorporate them with the literature on attitudes, showing how duality models can help us understand implicit and explicit attitude formation in consumer psychology. Finally, we offer future research implications for scholars in consumer psychology and marketing.