The Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology is an essential resource for researchers and students of social psychology and related disciplines.
Chapter 12: A Theory of Heuristic and Systematic Information Processing
A Theory of Heuristic and Systematic Information Processing
The heuristic-systematic model proposes two distinct modes of thinking about information. Systematic processing involves attempts to thoroughly understand any available information through careful attention, deep thinking, and intensive reasoning, whereas heuristic processing involves focusing on salient and easily comprehended cues that activate well-learned judgmental shortcuts. Heuristic processing is a more efficient and relatively automatic mode of processing, but more often than not confers less judgmental confidence. Systematic processing confers more confidence but is relatively effortful and time-consuming. Thus, individuals tend to engage in heuristic processing unless they are both motivated and able to think carefully about information, in which case the two modes of processing can have additive, ...