Sunday, August 27, 2006

 

On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect

Journal: Science 17 February 2006:

Vol. 311. no. 5763, pp. 1005 - 1007

DOI: 10.1126/science.1121629

Reports

On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect

Ap Dijksterhuis,* Maarten W. Bos, Loran F. Nordgren, Rick B. van Baaren

Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not always advantageous to engage in thorough conscious deliberation before choosing. On the basis of recent insights into the characteristics of conscious and unconscious thought, we tested the hypothesis that simple choices (such as between different towels or different sets of oven mitts) indeed produce better results after conscious thought, but that choices in complex matters (such as between different houses or different cars) should be left to unconscious thought. Named the "deliberation-without-attention" hypothesis, it was confirmed in four studies on consumer choice, both in the laboratory as well as among actual shoppers, that purchases of complex products were viewed more favorably when decisions had been made in the absence of attentive deliberation.

Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 15, 1018 WB, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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The General Evo News category carries an entry from the Guardian (UK) about the above paper - "Trust your instincts: The conscious mind isn't much use in making hard decisions"

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Comments:
I find this area of thought most interesting. I began to consider the action of unconcious thought a few years ago when I was taking some psychology classes. I have not actively sought out any research on this issue, I made a personal observation. If I quickly perused a sudoku puzzle for a brief period (approx. 30seconds) serveral times and then solved it; the average time for solving these puzzles were less than for similar puzzles where I did not preview the puzzle.
 
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