ABSTRACT

According to the sociological dual process model (SDPM), all thoughts occur either automatically and unconsciously or deliberately and consciously. However, by analyzing three empirical cases where individuals often engage in great amounts of deliberation – death and dying, pedophilia, and career decision-making – I find that they engage in what I term automatic deliberation: a mode of thinking which is both habitual and effortful. Given the high levels of emotional resonance of these topics for many individuals, schemas and frames for thinking about and through these topics are frequently alternated between in ways which demonstrate a blend of habituated understandings and conscious deliberation. Recent innovations in dual process theorizing are utilized to help support my argument. Specifically, the hybrid and parallel dual process models – two models which assume strong interconnections between automatic or Type 1 and deliberate or Type 2 processes. The data analyzed in this book support this blended view of cognition by demonstrating how individuals think through complex topics in patterned yet personalized ways as they draw on schemas and frames to arrive at their final conclusions.