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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the ongoing quest to find new analytical or methodological tools to explicate social action, cultural sociologists have recently turned to the dual-process models developed by cognitive and social psychologists. Designed to explain the two basic types of cognitive processing—one autonomous and the other requiring controlled attention, dual-process models became a natural partner for sociological theories of action, with their interest in parsing dispositional and deliberative types of action. This chapter offers an analytical review of the sociological literature that engages with dual-process models. It begins with an outline of the fundamentals of dual-process models in cognitive and social psychology, and follows with an examination of the premises that constitute what has come to be called the sociological dual-process model. It then reviews sociological research that applies dual-process models, dividing this literature into two distinct groups that are separated along sharp epistemological, methodological, and analytical lines. The first group is a largely consistent body of work that follows the premises of the sociological dual-process model, emphasizing the primacy of Type 1 processing, and investigating how this form of cognition shapes action. The second group comprises a more diverse body of work, examines Type 1 and Type 2 processing, and attempts to capture the processes that shape cognition and action. The chapter concludes with remarks about the critiques raised against dual-process models, along with their potential contributions to sociological analysis.

Keywords: dual-process model, theories of action, practice theory, cognitive psychology, social psychology, Type 1, Type 2, cognitive processing, deliberate action, dispositional action

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