Associative processes in intuitive judgment

Trends Cogn Sci. 2010 Oct;14(10):435-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 7.


Dual-system models of reasoning attribute errors of judgment to two failures: the automatic operations of a 'System 1' generate a faulty intuition, which the controlled operations of a 'System 2' fail to detect and correct. We identify System 1 with the automatic operations of associative memory and draw on research in the priming paradigm to describe how it operates. We explain how three features of associative memory--associative coherence, attribute substitution and processing fluency--give rise to major biases of intuitive judgment. Our article highlights both the ability of System 1 to create complex and skilled judgments and the role of the system as a source of judgment errors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intuition*
  • Judgment*
  • Memory*
  • Problem Solving*
  • Psychological Theory