The Duplex Mind

Topics: Mind, Thought, Consciousness Pages: 6 (686 words) Published: March 13, 2011

Running Head: Duplex Mind

Understanding the Duplex Mind

Heather Castro

Capella University

July 2010



The duplex mind or dual processing theory suggests that the human mind has two main

systems. The automatic system is part of the mind outside of consciousness that performs

simple operations. The conscious system is part of the mind that performs complex

operations. Both automatic and conscious systems work together to make conscious

thought possible.

Table of contents

A. Automatic and Conscious Systems
B. Duplex Mind and Social Influence
C. Conclusion
D. Reference page


Running Head: Automatic and Conscious Systems

Heather Castro

Capella University


The duplex mind operates from the automatic system and the conscious system.

The automatic system handles simple tasks such as interpreting, organizing and

characterizing thoughts that come through your mind (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pg.

54). The automatic system can act quickly and be uncontrollable. The automatic system

continues to operate during sleep which can cause a response to stimuli if needed

(Oswald, Taylor & Treisman, 1960). The conscious system is responsible for performing

complex operations. In other words, a person can combine information and make a

decision or conclusion from the information because the conscious system is responsible

for reasoning. The conscious system has more downsides as compared to the automatic

system. The automatic system is larger as compared to the conscious system. This means

that the automatic system is always turned on and working. Consciousness is slow and

capacity limited as compared to the automatic system, which is fast and can do many

things at once ( Frankish, 2004). The duplex mind requires both systems to function.

Therefore, automatic and conscious systems work together to make conscious thought



Running Head: Duplex Mind and Social Influence

Heather Castro

Capella University


Have you ever wondered what causes you to react or think the way you do in certain

situations? The duplex mind is responsible for the reactions, thoughts and responses that

you perform. Social influence can be attributed to how you think of yourself. People can

be encouraged or motivated to engage in systematic thought so they can fulfill a certain

level of confidence (Smith & Petty, 1996). Social influence can also cause rejection to an

influence (Pfau, 1997). A person’s social perception, interaction and influence dictate the

decisions and feelings that come and go in different situations. People have impulses that

tell them to act out by the way of the automatic system; however, the conscious system

can step in and restrain the proposed action (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008, pg. 59). The

restrained action can save a...
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