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One might almost believe that half of our thinking takes place unconsciously…I have familiarized myself with the factual data of a theoretical and practical.

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Presentation on theme: "One might almost believe that half of our thinking takes place unconsciously…I have familiarized myself with the factual data of a theoretical and practical."— Presentation transcript:

1 One might almost believe that half of our thinking takes place unconsciously…I have familiarized myself with the factual data of a theoretical and practical problem; I do not think about it again, yet often a few days later the answer to the problem will come into my mind entirely from its own accord; the operation which has produced it, however, remains as much a mystery to me as that of an adding-machine: what has occurred is, again, unconscious rumination. Arthur Schopenhauer

2 Theory of Unconscious Thought A general theory about conscious and unconscious thought Relevant for: Decision making Choosing Attitude formation Impression formation Problem solving DiagnosticityCreativity Basically anything that we associate with the labor of thinking.

3 There are two modes of thought, unconscious and conscious. The two modes have different characteristics, making them differentially applicable or differentially appropriate to use under different circumstances.

4 What is conscious thought? Thinking about something while consciously attending to it. What is unconscious thought? Thinking about something while not attending to it. Associating, reasoning, weighing, evaluating while consciousness is thinking about something else. On a phenomenological level: You mull over where to spend your summer holiday (Tuscany? Florida? Nepal?) and after three days of not consciously thinking about it at all, you wake up and think: Thailand its going to be!

5 Rooms for rent Participants receive information about 4 apartments. Each apartment is described by 12 aspects (Apt. A is big, Apt. C is in the Jordaan). Information for each apartment is presented for 15 secs. Three apartments have 5 positive and 7 negative aspects. One is better: 8 positive and 4 negative. Participants choose an apartment 1. Immediately 2. After thinking about it for three minutes 3. After being distracted for three minutes (unconscious thought)

6 Percentage that chose the best apartment. From: Dijksterhuis (2004). JPSP, 87,

7 Holistic judgment versus specific aspect. From: Dijksterhuis (2004). JPSP, 87,

8 Is unconscious thought an active, goal-directed process? Or is it merely a residual process following the encoding the information?

9 Choosing a car AB AB

10 Cars Participants receive information about 4 cars. Each car is described by 12 aspects One is always the best, another one the worst. Participants choose a car: 1. After thinking about it for five minutes 2. After being distracted for five minutes with the goal to reach a decision 3. After merely being distracted for five minutes without the goal to reach a decision (the experiment is over….)

11 Difference in attitude between best and worst car.

12 Cars and houses Participants receive information about 3 cars and 3 houses. Each car or house is described by 12 aspects One is always the best, another one the worst. Participants choose a car and house: 1. After being distracted for five minutes with the goal to reach a decision about the cars 1. After being distracted for five minutes with the goal to reach a decision about the houses

13 Difference in attitude between best and worst cars and houses.

14 About weighting

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18 Weighting Participants receive information about 4 cars. Each car is described by 11 aspects Conform Alba and Marmorstein 1987 Two cars have four important positive aspects, and seven unimportant negative ones (Quality cars). The other two cars are the opposite (Frequency cars). Participants rate each car 1. Immediately 2. After being distracted for five minutes (unconscious thought). Much later, all participants rate the importance of each attribute dimension

19 Weighting. Frequency or quality? Difference in attitude between Quality cars and Frequency cars.

20 To what extent do they weight according to their own preferred weigthing scheme? Attitude difference correlated with importance scores.

21 Lets talk about football (1) Participants predict four games from the Dutch league: 1. Immediately 2. After thinking about them for two minutes 3. After being distracted for two minutes (unconscious thought). How accurate are they? Moderator: Self-reported expertise

22 Percentages correct prediction

23 Correlations between knowledge and accuracy for each condition: rpN Immediate.01(ns)119 Conscious.16(p <.08)126 Unconscious.26(p <.01)107 Overall.14(p <.001)352

24 Lets talk about football (2) Participants predict five games from the World Cup: 1. Immediately 2. After thinking about them for two minutes 3. After being distracted for two minutes (unconscious thought). How accurate are they? Whats the world ranking of each team? Moderator: Self-reported expertise

25 Percentages correct prediction

26 Correlations between knowledge and accuracy for each condition: rpN Immediate.02(ns)49 Conscious.06(ns)39 Unconscious.38(p <.05)28 Overall.13(ns)116

27 World ranking is a good predictor for results of games (14-4-2). So if you have the knowledge, you should use it! Correlations between expertise, world ranking, and accuracy of prediction: Exp-WRWR-Acc Immediate Conscious Unconscious.52.60

28 Thank you Nijmegen Unconscious lab: Ap Dijksterhuis Rick van Baaren Karin Bongers Maarten Bos Theis van Leeuwen Andries van der Leij Aukje Sjoerdsma With Loran Nordgren Pamela Smith Teun Meurs Zeger van Olden Chen-bo Zhong


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