The word derives from a sort of pun on dual process theory; what beliefs ("B-liefs") are to system 2, aliefs ("A-liefs") are to system 1. Thus, beliefs are explicitly held beliefs which inform slow reasoning, while aliefs are implicit attitudes which guide fast reactions. However, dual process theory is not totally necessary to make sense of the term alief. A related pun is "cesire vs desire"; a desire ("D-zire") is an explicit want which enters into explicit planning, while a cesire ("C-zire") is an implicit one which guides reactions.
An alief is a belief-like attitude, behavior, or
expectation, especially one that contradicts the person's explicit beliefs. A person standing on a transparent balcony may believe that they are safe, but alieve that they are in danger. A person watching a sad movie may believe that the characters are completely fictional, but their aliefs may lead them to cry nonetheless. A person may believe that they should be working, but have an alief that leads them to procrastinate (see