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The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
Een wetenschappelijke pioeve op het gebieu van ue
Sociale Wetenschappen
Pioefschiift
tei veikiijging van ue giaau van uoctoi
aan ue Raubouu 0niveisiteit Nijmegen
op gezag van ue iectoi magnificus piof. mi. S. C. }. }. Koitmann
volgens besluit van het college van uecanen
in het openbaai te veiueuigen op viijuag 29 oktobei 2u1u
om 1u:Su uui
uooi
Naaiten Willem Bos
ueboien op 29 juni 1981
te Amsteiuam
Piomotoi: Piof. ui. Ap Bijksteihuis
Copiomotoi: Piof. ui. Rick B. van Baaien
Nanusciiptcommissie:
Piof. ui. Au van Knippenbeig
Piof. ui. Benk Aaits (0niveisiteit 0tiecht)
Bi. Rob Bollanu
Contents
Chaptei 1 ueneial Intiouuction anu summaiy Page S
Chaptei 2 The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought Page 21
Chaptei S Complexity anu unconscious thought Page S9
Chaptei 4 0nconscious thought uoes not choke unuei
piessuie but iises to the challenge Page SS
Chaptei S Foou foi thought.
Stiategically applying unconscious thought Page 6S
Refeiences Page 69
Butch summaiy Page 8S
Acknowleugements Page 8S
!"#$%&' )
ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
6
"Tiuly successful uecision making ielies on a balance between uelibeiate anu
instinctive thinking"
-
Nalcolm ulauwell, 2uuS
Becisions abounu in oui lives. They may iange fiom which job you shoulu
take to which shampoo to buy anu fiom which shoes to buy to whom you want to
spenu the iest of youi life with (the lattei two aiguably equally uifficult uecisions
foi some people). Naking uecisions is not always easy, anu complex uecisions in
paiticulai can be quite a challenge (Rettings & Bastie, 2uu1; ueimeijs, & Be
Boeck, 2uu2; Rassin, & Nuiis, 2uuS), foi some people even moie than foi otheis
(Fiost, & Shows, 199S; Webstei & Kiuglanski, 1994; Schwaitz, Waiu,
Nonteiosso, Lyubomiisky, White, & Lehman, 2uu2).
Although munuane uecisions, like auuing a little moie salt to youi uinnei,
aie maue ielatively quickly anu without much effoit oi thought (ulauwell, 2uuS;
Finucane, Alhakami, Slovic, & }ohnson, 2uuu), complex uecisions usually take a
long time anu a gieat ueal of uelibeiation (Payne, Bettman, }ohnson, 199S;
}ohnson, & Payne, 198S; uieenleaf & Lehmann, 199S). Becisions uo not always
leau to satisfactoiy outcomes (e.g. Tsiios, & Nittal, 2uuu), so the question aiises
how we aie best to make uecisions.
vaiious uecision making stiategies can be iuentifieu, some of which
incluue thoiough conscious uelibeiation, some focus on intuitive stiategies anu
some aie meie vaiiations of flipping a coin. Although the lattei piobably uoes not
iank highly on most people's list of uecision making stiategies, complex
uecisions sometimes leave us so uissatisfieu (Tsiios, & Nittal, 2uuu) that in
ietiospect, flipping a coin may not have seemeu such a bau iuea (Ratliff, 1999).
Few people woulu subsciibe to this iuea though. In fact, common knowleuge
uictates that thoiough conscious uelibeiation leaus to the best outcomes when
facing a complex uecision. This is inueeu sometimes tiue, but the entiie pictuie is
not that simple. Contiaiy to common knowleuge, not consciously thinking about
a complex uecision pioblem sometimes leaus to bettei iesults than thoiough
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
7
conscious thought (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6; Wilson & Schoolei, 1991).
Still, people uo iely moie on conscious thought. This ieliance on conscious
thought is a uiiect iesult of the ieputation of both consciousness - as ieliable -
anu the ieputation of unconscious anu automatic piocesses, as ciuue anu
sometimes sloppy.
The stiong ieliance on conscious thought is also the iesult of the authoiity
people asciibe to economic theoiies. Economists have uevelopeu vaiious
noimative uecision making stiategies. They claim that some stiategies aie bettei
than otheis, but that in geneial, consciously applying a sophisticateu conscious
weighting stiategy leaus to the best uecisions.
*+',#%-.& /%'#%&0-&/ +1 2&3-/-+4 ,#5-40
Theie is a long list of stiategies people supposeuly use when making a
uecision. The same uecision pioblem can leau to uiffeient uecisions, uepenuing
on the stiategy the uecision makei uses to aiiive at a uecision.
0ne of the simplest stiategies is the stiict lexicogiaphic iule (LEX). When
this stiategy is applieu, the most impoitant attiibute of choice options is
ueteimineu anu the choice option which scoies highest on this attiibute gets
selecteu. In case of a tie between options, the seconu most impoitant attiibute is
consiueieu, but only foi the best options on the fiist (most impoitant) attiibute.
This continues until one option is chosen. This can potentially leau to suboptimal
uecisions. A hypothetical choice option which scoies highest on the most
impoitant attiibute but veiy low on all othei attiibutes woulu still be selecteu.
The equal weights heuiistic (EQW) is a 'tally' stiategy. It ignoies the
ielative impoitance of attiibutes anu insteau just looks at which option has the
highest iatio of goou to bau featuies (Payne et al., 199S). EQW is an effoitless
stiategy, since all one has to uo is count goou anu bau attiibutes of each uecision
alteinative to come to a uecision. Bowevei, the benefit of effoitlessness can come
at the cost of uecision quality. 0sually, not eveiy attiibute is of equal impoitance,
anu some weighting of attiibutes is often necessaiy (cup holueis in a cai shoulu
geneially not be weighteu equally to safety).
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
8
A moie complex uecision making stiategy is the weighteu auuing stiategy
(WABB; e.g., Bettman, Luce, & Payne, 1998; Euwaius, 1961; }anis & Nann, 1977).
In this stiategy, the ielative impoitance (also calleu 'utility') of vaiious attiibutes
of choice options is weighteu. Theie aie seveial pitfalls to this stiategy. To name a
few: The value of attiibutes may uiffei fiom one situation to anothei; we may not
even always be knowleugeable enough to juuge the utility of an attiibute;
attiibutes may be inteiuepenuent (foi an apaitment, the attiibute 'penthouse of
a 22 stoiy builuing' seems of a high value, but may be less so when anothei
attiibute is '22 stoiy builuing lacks elevatoi') anu so on. As it tuins out, even
when we tiy to use this stiategy, which we iaiely uo, we aie not veiy goou at it
(e.g. Bawes, 1979; Swets, Bawes & Nonahan, 2uuu) anu actually, theie seems to
be no way we !"# be goou at it (Baion, 2uuu).
Nulti Attiibute 0tility Theoiy (NA0T) answeis some of the issues of
WABB, stating foi instance that eveiy attiibute neeus to be inuepenuent. Naking
uecisions accoiuing to NA0T has its pioblems too, howevei. 0ne of these
pioblems is that NA0T, as all weighteu auuing stiategies, uepenus fully on self-
iepoiteu inuications of attiibute values. Self-iepoit uepenus on intiospection
anu is a notoiiously bau inuicatoi of motives (e.g. Nisbett & Wilson, 1977) anu
ielative peisonal value. A biggei pioblem is the fact that most people uo not
know how to use NA0T, anu theiefoie iefiain fiom using it (e.g. Bawes, 1979;
Swets et al., 2uuu).
The uecision stiategies uesciibeu above all follow ceitain uecision iules.
Inteiestingly enough, they often appeai not to come close to the way people
actually make uecisions. Some stiategies uesciibe an optimal way of uecision
making, but in tiuth, people uo not often make lists oi wiite uown the weights of
vaiious attiibutes of uecision options, anu even if they uo, it appeais close to
impossible to compaie ceitain attiibutes. 0f couise, many of these mouels aie
only noimative. It is geneially assumeu that ieal life uecision making uoes not
confoim to these mouels. The pioblem is that we cannot confoim to these
mouels, iegaiuless of how much time anu effoit we put into a uecision. So in fact,
many uecision theoiies paint a pietty pictuie of a nonexistent ieality. That we uo
not achieve this ieality appeais to be not just because we uo not tiy, but also
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
9
because we aie simply unable. The main point of these theoiies is that thoiough
conscious thought leaus to optimal uecision making. Bowevei, consciously
making uecisions is haiu. 0ne of the ieasons foi this is oui inability to
consciously give weights to attiibutes of a choice option. Anothei ieason is the
low capacity of oui consciousness.
!+4/3-+6/ %"+60"% -4 2&3-/-+4 ,#5-40
Theie is a histoiy of aumiiation foi consciousness. Bescaites so
eloquently saiu: I think theiefoie I am ("Cogito eigo sum"; Bescaites, 1664), anu
his views seem to be shaieu by, among othei scholais, a host of economists anu
uecision making theoiists. The moie complex noimative stiategies (like NA0T)
assume clevei conscious piocesses anu suggest that thinking consciously helps
to assign appiopiiate weights to aspects anu attiibutes of a uecision. If only it
weie that simple.
$%%&%' )# *+!)')&# ,"-)#.
Becision making falls piey to vaiious eiiois. Theie aie ieasons why we
aie not veiy goou at weighting vaiious attiibutes of a choice option. A veiy
piominent ieason is that context influences us. To us, the value of an attiibute
vaiies fiom one situation to anothei. This leaus to a pioblem, because when we
aie askeu to assign value to an attiibute, we often uo not iealize this. Insteau, we
will juuge the attiibute solely by oui evaluation in the specific context we finu
ouiselves in. Bowevei, the context in which we juuge an attiibute may be veiy
uiffeient fiom the context in which the iesults of oui uecision mattei. We aie
geneially not veiy goou at juuging how we will behave in a situation that uiffeis
fiom the one we aie in (Noiugien, van uei Pligt, & van Baiievelu, 2uu6, 2uu7,
2uu8, 2uu9; Reau & van Leeuwen, 1998; Loewenstein, 1996; Loewenstein, Nagin,
& Pateinostei, 1997; van Boven & Loewenstein, 2uuS). If we go shopping foi
uinnei just befoie we have hau lunch, we will buy much moie foou than if we go
shopping foi uinnei just aftei we hau lunch (Nisbett & Kanouse, 1969). This
occuis because we aie in a 'hot' state of hungiiness (Loewenstein, 1996). Also,
quitting smokeis juuge theii ability to stop smoking much highei just aftei they
hau a (piesumably last) cigaiette. The same effect occuis foi uieting foi example
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
1u
(Noiugien et al., 2uu6, 2uu8) anu othei impulsive behaviois (Noiugien et al.,
2uu8; Aiiely & Loewenstein, 2uu6; van Boven, Loewenstein, & Bunning, 2uuS;
Sayette, Loewenstein, uiimn, & Black, 2uu8).
/%",)#.. values aie influenceu by context. Reseaich has shown that
people aie moie willing to make an extia tiip to save $S,- when the total piice is
low, than when the total piice is high. When buying a $1S,- calculatoi, people aie
moie willing to make an extia tiip foi a $S,- extia uiscount than when buying a
$12S,- calculatoi. The same S uollais (anu they aie the exact same S uollais)
appeai to have a uiffeient value uepenuent on the context, oi the fiaming
(Tveisky & Kahneman, 1981). When buying a house, S uollais oi even a 1uuu
uollais may seem like a iiuiculous amount to negotiate about, but these aie the
same uollais which will make you take a uetoui to a gas station wheie you get S
uollais uiscount ovei the couise of a yeai, oi make you ueciue not to buy that suit
you likeu so much. So even compaiing money to money seems to become uifficult
when the context is uiffeient. People aie howevei no less ceitain of theii
uecisions.
0#!1&%)#.. Let's say physicians piesciibe uiug A a total of 2S times a yeai.
If we woulu ask physicians, who at that moment aie not awaie of the numbei of
times they actually piesciibe uiug A, to inuicate how often they piesciibe the
uiug on a scale ianging fiom 1 to Su, we might get a numbei close to 2S.
Bowevei, if we weie to ask the same physicians the same question on a scale
ianging fiom 1 to Suu, theii estimate will be much highei. The scale enu-points
function as an 'anchoi', telling us what woulu be a ieasonable iesponse (Tveisky
& Kahneman, 1981). This is also the ieason why a wine list in a iestauiant
sometimes boasts a few bottles of extiemely expensive wines. The most
expensive wines aie nevei solu; the iestauiant may not even have them in stock.
Bowevei, guests will choose a Su euio bottle of wine soonei than when they
woulu have founu a 8u euio bottle of wine at the top of the wine list. The
expensive wine makes the Su euio bottle of wine seem less expensive. Likewise,
an anchoi can influence the weight we give to an attiibute in a uecision pioblem.
02")3"4)3)56 1+7%)'5)!. When people aie askeu to estimate how many
people uie of AIBS, tiaffic acciuents oi homiciue, they tenu to oveiestimate the
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
11
numbei of ueaths fiom homiciue anu unueiestimate the numbei of AIBS ielateu
ueaths. This is causeu by the infoimation they have available, anu newspapeis
covei moie homiciues than AIBS ielateu ueaths. The heuiistic they apply is
calleu the availability heuiistic, anu it is a well-stuuieu phenomenon (e.g. Combs
& Slovic, 1979). As it tuins out, thinking moie in this case iesults in moie bias
fiom this heuiistic. When given 12 seconus to answei this question, the bias was
smallei than when given an auueu instiuction to think caiefully befoie
answeiing anu 4S seconus to answei (Bijksteihuis, 2uuS). Noie thinking leu to
moie bias.
As uemonstiateu in the examples above, vaiious eiiois peivaue uecision
making. We intuitively blame such eiiois on people's lack of motivation to
engage in seiious conscious thought. Can't we avoiu such eiiois if we just
uelibeiate a little moie. We think that thoiough conscious thought will help us
make goou uecisions. Bowevei, assigning values to attiibutes of choice options is
veiy uifficult anu finuing an objective stanuaiu of the value of an attiibute seems
almost impossible. Although it is ceitainly tiue that conscious thought can help
to pievent some pitfalls in uecision making, the geneial iule that conscious
thought makes choices anu uecisions bettei, intuitive as it may sounu, is wiong.
Noie motivation to think about a uecision may occasionally help (foi easy
uecisions foi instance), but often it just leaus to moie enthusiastic application of
a suboptimal stiategy, leauing to suboptimal outcomes (e.g., Aikes, Bawes, &
Chiistensen, 1986). The moie people aie motivateu to uelibeiate about a choice,
the biggei fiaming effects become foi instance (Igou & Bless, 2uu7).
0ften conscious thought uoes not help, anu sometimes it actually makes
matteis woise (Igou & Bless, 2uu7). The bottom-line is that the ielation between
conscious thought anu quality of uecision making is complicateu, with multiple
moueiatois affecting whethei uelibeiation helps oi hinueis (e.g., Bijksteihuis &
Noiugien, 2uu6; Leinei & Tetlock, 1999; Wilson & Schoolei, 1991).
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
12
74%6-%-.& 2&3-/-+4 ,#5-40 /%89&/
Although Bescaites' iuea was an inteiesting notion at the veiy least, it has
aiguably been the stait of centuiies of neglect anu uisiegaiu of smait automatic
piocesses (Bamasio, 1994; Koestlei, 1964; Wilson, 2uu2). Nany economic
theoiists anu juugment anu uecision making expeits woulu have you believe that
although conscious thought uoes not always leau to optimal uecision making (e.g.
Baion, 2uuu), othei uecision styles, among which aie moie intuitive uecision
styles, aie not likely to be bettei, anu they woulu state so, even without ieseaich
pioving this claim (foi instance, see Baion, 2uuu, pSSS).
vaiious automatic piocesses bias anu influence uecision making (Tveisky
& Kahneman, 1981; Bijksteihuis, Smith, van Baaien, & Wigboluus, 2uuS).
Fiaming iefeis to the effect the context has on how infoimation is iegaiueu. The
iepiesentativeness heuiistic (e.g. Kahneman, & Fieueiick, 2uu2; Kahneman,
2uuS) iefeis to the fact that people oveiestimate the occuiience of an event
within an entiie population, baseu on the occuiience within a ielatively small
sample anu the list goes on. These automatic piocesses influence not only
vaiious conscious uecision styles, as uesciibeu above, but veiy likely have a
similai influence on moie intuitive uecision making in the foim of snap
juugments.
8#"9 :7*.,+#5'
0ccasionally, uecisions which may seem extiemely complex, can be
answeieu in a split seconu. Why you uo not like a ceitain song can uepenu on a
myiiau of ieasons anu piefeiences, but nonetheless you can often immeuiately
ueciue you eithei uo oi uo not like that song. Snap juugments, as we might call
them, aie uecisions maue extiemely fast, baseu on expeitise anu often a limiteu
amount of infoimation about the cuiient uecision pioblem (ulauwell, 2uuS).
Let us look at an example of how poweiful snap juugments can be.
}uuging fiom a sounu iecoiuing of a conveisation between a patient anu a uoctoi,
people aie able to estimate with a high ceitainty the likelihoou the uoctoi might
become involveu in a malpiactice lawsuit. Ninu you, these iecoiuings weie
alteieu. All high fiequencies weie iemoveu, leaving a muffleu noise fiom which it
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
1S
is impossible to unueistanu the actual conveisation. 0nly intonation, pitch anu
ihythm iemain. Fuitheimoie, juuges weie only given 2 seconus to juuge the
uoctois. This extiemely impoveiisheu veision nonetheless alloweu the juuges to
pieuict which uoctoi woulu anu woulu not be sueu (Allen & Buikin, 2uuu;
Ambauy, Laplante, Nguyen, Rosenthal, Chaumeton, & Levinson, 2uu2).
Although snap juugments can be veiy efficient in that they iequiie little
eneigy, they usually iequiie a goou ueal of expeitise (ulauwell, 2uuS) anu aie
subject to context influences. When making a snap juugment, we iely on an
automatic piocess which opeiates piimaiily on pievious knowleuge, without
incoipoiating much of the infoimation at hanu. Pattein iecognition plays a gieat
iole, anu theiefoie expeitise aius snap juugments. The pioblem is that oui
pievious knowleuge also incluues vaiious biases incluuing piejuuice foi instance.
In this way, snap juugments, although sometimes efficient, can leau to
suboptimal anu eiioneous uecisions.
We know that using conscious thought as well as vaiious intuitive
uecisions styles can leau to biases. So what to uo when we have a uecision which
is moie complex than choosing between one towel oi anothei. If uecision
making baseu on conscious thought, as well as intuitive uecision making like
snap juugments aie both influenceu by the same biases, then how aie we best to
make uecisions. Recent finuings state that unconscious thought leaus to bettei
uecisions.
:43+4/3-+6/ ;"+60"% ;"&+'8
0nconscious Thought Theoiy is baseu on six piinciples (Bijksteihuis &
Noiugien, 2uu6). These piinciples contiast unconscious thought to conscious
thought. The 0nconscious-Thought Piinciple states that theie aie two moues of
thought: Conscious thought anu unconscious thought. The two moues have
uiffeient chaiacteiistics, making them uiffeientially applicable to uiffeient
situations. The Capacity Piinciple states that since unconscious thought makes
use of the laige capacity of the unconscious, unconscious thought can hanule
gieatei amounts of infoimation than conscious thought, which uses the ielatively
small capacity of consciousness. The Bottom-0p-veisus-Top-Bown Piinciple
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
14
states that conscious thought woiks top-uown, applying schemas when coming
to a uecision. 0nconscious thought woiks bottom-up, allowing it to come to
uecisions which uo not fit a schema, anu taking into account infoimation which
uoes not fit piioi knowleuge. The Weighting Piinciple states that unconscious
thought is bettei at assigning appiopiiate weights to infoimation. The Rule
Piinciple states that conscious thought is iule-baseu. When making a uecision,
conscious thought can apply stiict iules anu is veiy piecise, wheieas
unconscious thought only gives iough estimates. The Conveigence-veisus-
Biveigence Piinciple states that conscious thought seaiches memoiy in a moie
focuseu anu conveigent mannei, wheieas unconscious thought seaiches memoiy
in a moie uiveigent mannei, allowing it to be moie cieative foi instance
(Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6).
:43+4/3-+6/ %"+60"% -4 2&3-/-+4 ,#5-40
0nconscious thought can be uefineu as a cognitive piocess in the absence
of conscious attention (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6). It is uiffeient fiom snap
juugments, in that unconscious thought iequiies time, wheieas snap juugments
uo not. In a typical unconscious thought expeiiment, paiticipants weie given
infoimation about a uecision pioblem. Some paiticipants weie askeu to
consciously think about the infoimation, wheieas otheis weie given a uistiaction
task anu engageu in unconscious thought. The common finuing is that
unconscious thought leaus to bettei uecisions (Bos, Bijksteihuis, & van Baaien,
2uu8; Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien, & van Baaien, 2uu6;
Bijksteihuis, Bos, van uei Leij, & van Baaien, 2uu9; Bijksteihuis & Neuis, 2uu6;
Bam, van uen Bos, & van Booin, 2uu9; Leiouge, 2uu9).
Reseaich in unconscious thought uoes not limit itself to uecision making.
0nconscious thought has also been shown to inciease cieativity foi instance.
Aftei a peiiou of unconscious thought, people uo not only become moie cieative
(Bijksteihuis & Neuis, 2uu6), they aie also bettei at selecting theii best iuea
(Rittei, Bijksteihuis, van Baaien, 2u1u).
83++9)#. &# )5. A conclusion often uiawn fiom ieseaich in unconscious
thought is that we shoulu 'sleep on it' when we have to make a uecision. Although
in oui expeiiments we have nevei actually let paiticipants sleep on a uecision,
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
1S
theie is some ieseaich inuicating that uuiing sleep infoimation is piocesseu
fuithei (e.g. Ellenbogen, Bu, Payne, Titone, & Walkei, 2uu7; Lansink, uoltstein,
Lankelma, }oosten, NcNaughton, & Pennaitz, 2uu8; Lansink, uoltstein, Lankelma,
NcNaughton, & Pennaitz, 2uu9). This suppoits the iuea that sleeping on it woulu
inueeu be beneficial to uecision making, oi at least to infoimation oiganization
piioi to uecision making.
;7"3 9%&!+'' 51+&%6. Bual piocess theoiies abounu in the liteiatuie (Evans,
2uu9). Nost uual piocess theoiies assume that theie aie two types of systems
that unueilie oui cognitive piocessing (Chaiken & Tiope 1999, Evans, 2uu9). 0ne
of these two systems typically opeiates quickly, is non-conscious, can opeiate in
paiallel with othei piocesses, anu is ielatively unuemanuing of cognitive
iesouices. The seconu system piocesses infoimation moie slowly, opeiates
unuei volitional contiol, is seiial in its infoimation piocessing anu is ielatively
uemanuing of cognitive iesouices. The fiist system is often associateu with
intuition, the seconu moie with ieason oi iationality.
What uoes unconscious thought theoiy (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6)
tell us that othei uual-piocess theoiies uo not. Bo we ieally neeu anothei uual-
piocess theoiy. The answei is a iesounuing: Yes. Fiist of all, most uual piocess
theoiies assume the non-conscious, automatic system to be 'stupiu', in that it is
not capable of ielatively complex opeiations but often woiks similai to a ieflex. A
host of ieseaich pioves this iuea wiong, showing complex behavioi, uiiecteu
non-consciously (Aaits & Bijksteihuis, 2uuu; Baigh, 1994; Baigh, Chen, &
Buiiows, 1996; Baigh, uollwitzei, Lee-Chai, Bainuollai, & Tioetschel, 2uu1;
Baigh, 199u; Baigh, 2uuS; Chaitianu & Baigh 1996; Eitam, Schul, & Bassin,
2uu9; Fitzsimons & Baigh, 2uuS; Noskowitz, uollwitzei, Wasel, & Schaal, 1999;
Rebei, 1967, 1989). Anothei assumption in most uual piocess theoiies is that the
moie conscious system, although it is slow, leaus to moie iationality. A host of
ieseaich pioves this iuea wiong as well (Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis et al.,
2uu6; Kahneman, 2uuS), as uesciibeu above.
Although unconscious thought theoiy agiees with most uual piocess
theoiies that the automatic system is non-conscious, can opeiate in paiallel with
othei piocesses, anu is ielatively unuemanuing of cognitive iesouices, theie aie
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
16
some iemaikable uiffeiences. 0nconscious thought theoiy actually assumes
'smait' unconscious piocesses. They aie not always fast, but sometimes take
time, oi 'sleeping on it'. Intuition is often assumeu to be about immeuiate
uecisions, oi snap juugments. Although unconscious thought theoiy uoes not
state that snap juugments uo not woik, sometimes uecisions iequiie some
mauling ovei. Weighting attiibutes foi instance takes some time anu inueeu,
ieseaich shows that unconscious thought aius the weighting piocess
(Bijksteihuis, Bos, & van Baaien, 2u1u). 0nconscious thought theoiy also uiffeis
fiom some uual piocess theoiies in that it states that thoiough conscious thought
uoes not necessaiily leau to less bias. In fact, conscious thought can even leau to
moie bias than unconscious thought (Bijksteihuis & Bos, 2u1u).
;"& $'&/&4% 2-//&'%#%-+4
The piesent uisseitation fuithei investigates the ciicumstances unuei
which we can use unconscious thought to oui benefit in uecision making. Also,
we tiy to give some insight in when to use unconscious thought anu when
conscious thought may even be just as beneficial. 0ui goal is to assess how we
can stiategically apply unconscious thought to aiu in uecision making.
In chaptei 2 we investigate whethei unconscious thought is an active,
goal-uepenuent piocess. 0nconscious thought is often manipulateu by giving a
uistiaction task. The common iesult is that afteiwaius peifoimance is incieaseu.
The question is: Is theie an active piocess going on uuiing the uistiaction. 0i can
the inciease in peifoimance be explaineu by a 'fiesh look' aftei the uistiaction.
Bo we think unconsciously about eveiything we see. 0i uo we neeu a goal. In 4
expeiiments, we piesenteu paiticipants with infoimation. Some paiticipants
weie given a goal to piocess the infoimation, wheieas otheis weie not given such
a goal. 0ui iesults suggest that inueeu, unconscious thought is an active piocess
(Bos et al., 2uu8), ensuing only when a goal is given.
In chaptei S we investigate what happens when a uecision becomes
incieasingly complex. We also tiy to auuiess a seiies of ciitiques to the methous
we have useu in pievious expeiiments. In two expeiiments, paiticipants weie
given a laige amount of infoimation iegaiuing uecision alteinatives anu weie
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
17
latei askeu to make a uecision. We ieplicateu iesults fiom chaptei 2, showing
that unconscious thought is goal-uepenuent. Noie inteiestingly, we founu that,
compaieu to conscious thought, unconscious thought peifoims well when
infoimation is complex, even when conscious thinkeis can ieview all of the
infoimation. 0ui iesults suggest that unconscious thought can inueeu hanule
veiy complex uecisions. Results ovei oui vaiious methous conveige: Whethei
complexity comes fiom the amount of infoimation oi fiom having to make
vaiious simultaneous uecisions, unconscious thought outpeifoims conscious
thought (Bos, Bijksteihuis, Bongeis et al., 2u1u).
In the expeiiments in chaptei 4 we again piesent paiticipants with
infoimation. We finu that peifoimance foi conscious thinkeis ueclines when they
aie tolu theii uecision task will be complex. 0nconscious thinkeis on the othei
hanu show an inciease in peifoimance when the same challenge is set befoie
them (Bos et al., 2u1ua), but a ueciease when they aie tolu the uecision will be
easy. We explain oui iesults in the light of liteiatuie on choking unuei piessuie.
In chaptei S we investigateu the impact of an inciease in bloou sugai level
on uecision making. Although, as expecteu, conscious thought peifoimance
ueclines when bloou sugai level is low, the ieveise is tiue foi unconscious
thought. We hypothesize that theie might be a fit between thought moue anu
bloou sugai level. When we aie high on eneigy, it just 'feels' bettei to think
consciously, but when we aie low on eneigy, it 'feels' bettei to think
unconsciously (Bos et al., 2u1ub).
!+4396/-+4
Complex uecisions we have to face can neai paialyze us. Becaues of
basking in gloiy of the capabilities of consciousness (Bescaites, 1664) have maue
us blinu foi the potential of oui unconsciousness (Bamasio, 1994; Baigh, 2uu2).
0ui consciousness is not the appaiatus its pistal piomises it to be. Theie aie
many fielus wheie unconscious piocesses have been given some cieuit as clevei
piocesses. This change is less to be founu in liteiatuie on uecision making, wheie
consciousness anu conscious thought aie still oveiiateu in the same way that the
unconscious anu unconscious thought aie unueiiateu. Reseaich exploiing the
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
18
capabilities of oui unconscious have shown what tiemenuous feats can be
achieveu by ielying on unconscious piocesses, anu oui own ieseaich successfully
takes these finuings to the fielu of uecision making.
0993)!"5)&#'
Potential benefits fiom unconscious thought can be founu in seveial
uomains of life anu woik sectois. As saiu, uecisions peivaue uaily life, anu
business is no exception. In any aiea wheie complex uecisions aie pait of
eveiyuay life, it may be sounu auvise to uiveit attention fiom the uecision anu
use unconscious thought. A few examples aie listeu below.
<"#".+,+#5. Nanageis face high-stakes business uecisions all the time.
Resouices like time anu eneigy aie limiteu, while the amount of infoimation
iequiiing analysis has incieaseu. Nany manageis iesoit to making snap
juugments when making a uecision (Bane & Piatt, 2uu7). When you aie faceu
with a uecision pioblem within youi fielu of expeitise this shoulu not be a
pioblem, especially when you aie given timely feeuback (Kaiues, 2uu6).
Bowevei, this may not always be the iight way to go. Especially when facing a
uecision iegaiuing infoimation you aie not familiai with, snap juugments may
leau you astiay. Thoioughly encouing the infoimation consciously but then
letting the unconscious uo the woik may aiu complex business uecisions.
=+."3 >7*.,+#5. Few uecisions can be as complex as legal uecisions.
}uuges face incieuible amounts of infoimation, which they aie obligateu to
weight to come to faii uecisions. Although some ieseaich shows that
unconscious thought is not veiy goou at ignoiing iiielevant infoimation (Bos,
Bijksteihuis, van uei Leij, & van Baaien, 2u1u; Be Wit, van uen Bos, Bam, &
Nullei, 2u1u), when ielevant infoimation is encoueu coiiectly, it can be veiy
helpful to uecision making (Bam & van uen Bos, 2uu9, 2u1u). A pioblem with
using unconscious thought in a legal system is of couise accountability. Tiusting
oui gut in legal uecisions might 'feel' wiong. Bowevei, with a gieatei acceptance
of unconscious thought as a uecision making tool, this may become less of a
pioblem. Conscious thought coulu then be seen as a 'fact checkei', to be useu
aftei an unconscious uecision has been maue.
Chaptei 1 - ueneial intiouuction anu summaiy
19
=)?+@' *+!)')&#'. 0f couise, benefits can not only be founu foi high stake
uecisions like juuges anu manageis have to make. Eveiy single one of us often
faces complex uecisions. In a time which chaiacteiizes itself by constant change,
hastiness anu uistiaction, unconscious thought may be a valuable tool, iequiiing
no conscious attention. 0nconscious thought allows us to focus oui conscious
attention on othei things while oui unconscious woiks out oui uecisions foi us.
;+!)')&#' 7#*+% '5%")#. Baving a limiteu amount of iesouices piouuces
cleai uetiiments foi vaiious conscious piocesses (Bonohoe & Benton, 199u). 0ne
coulu say that to make sounu uecisions, elevating bloou sugai aftei eveiy mental
exeicise may solve the pioblem of oui tiieu consciousness. This paints a iathei
gloomy pictuies foi those of us who want to be able to make soliu uecisions
without stuffing ouiselves with high-caibon foous all the time. Luckily, when we
aie low on iesouices we can iely on unconscious thought to help us make
uecisions.
ueneially, we can concluue that unconscious thought is veiy suitable foi
piocessing infoimation. It is clevei in the way that it can weight infoimation
(Bijksteihuis & Bos, 2u1u), it is somewhat uumb in that it blinuly piocesses
infoimation it is feu, without ignoiing infoimation which aftei encouing tuins
out not to be tiue (Bos, Bijksteihuis, van uei Leij, & van Baaien, 2u1u) oi shoulu
be ignoieu because it clouus juugment (Be Wit et al., 2uu9).
As in tuins out, we aie veiy capable of making complex uecisions. When
making a complex uecision, we shoulu consciously attenu to all infoimation theie
is to be founu about that uecision. What we then neeu is to eithei consciously
(Bos et al., 2uu8; Bos, Bijksteihuis, Bongeis et al., 2u1u) oi unconsciously (Bos et
al. 2u1ua) activate the goal to piocess the infoimation, to minimize inteifeience
fiom oui oveiestimateu anu oveizealous consciousness (Bos et al. 2u1ub; Bos,
Bijksteihuis, Bongeis et al., 2u1u; Igou & Bless, 2uu7) anu lastly, to tiust oui
intuitive juugments (Bos et al., 2u1ua). Like speech piouuction foi instance,
successful uecision making is an inteiplay between vaiious conscious piocesses
anu unconscious piocesses. We can make goou uecisions, all we neeu to uo when
conscious thought fails us, is stait tiusting oui unconscious.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
2u
!"#$%&' <
The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
Baseu on: Bos, N.W., Bijksteihuis, A., & van Baaien, R.B. (2uu8). 0n the goal-
uepenuency of unconscious thought. >&7%#"3 &? $A9+%),+#5"3 8&!)"3 B'6!1&3&.6C
DD, 1114-112u.
=>/%'#3%
Recent ieseaich has shown that unconscious thought can impiove the
quality of complex uecisions (Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien, &
van Baaien, 2uu6). In the piesent ieseaich, we investigate whethei unconscious
thought is goal-uepenuent. In foui expeiiments paiticipants weie given
infoimation peitaining to a uecision pioblem oi to an impiession foimation
pioblem. Subsequently, they weie eithei given time to think consciously about
the infoimation oi they weie uistiacteu foi some time, uuiing which they coulu
engage in unconscious thought. 0f the paiticipants that weie uistiacteu, howevei,
some weie given the goal to fuithei piocess the infoimation, wheieas otheis
weie not given such a goal. 0ui expeiiments cleaily show that unconscious
thought is goal-uepenuent. Without a goal, people uo not engage in unconscious
thought.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
22
Anyone who has evei bought a house knows that choosing between
vaiious complex, multifaceteu alteinatives can be a uaunting task. Common
wisuom uictates that thoiough conscious thought impioves the quality of
people's uecisions foi such complex objects, but this is often not the case
(Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6). Conscious thought often leaus
people to use inappiopiiate heuiistics anu conscious thinkeis can fall piey to
biases that often haim uecisions (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6; Wilson &
Schoolei, 1991). In auuition, conscious capacity is low, making conscious thought
moie fiuitful foi ielatively simple uecisions, but not foi complex ones
(Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6).
Bowevei, it has been uemonstiateu iecently that a peiiou of 7#!&#'!)&7'
thought can impiove the quality of people's uecisions (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien,
2uu6; Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6). 0nconscious thought can best be uefineu as
thought oi ieasoning that takes place when conscious attention is uiiecteu
elsewheie. In ieseaich in oui laboiatoiy, we uemonstiateu that unconscious
thought can be highly auaptive. In most of oui pievious expeiiments, paiticipants
weie fiist piesenteu with infoimation peitaining to a uecision pioblem. They
weie latei askeu questions about this infoimation (usually they weie askeu to
choose among alteinatives) unuei thiee uiffeient conuitions. Paiticipants eithei
ueciueu immeuiately aftei being piesenteu with the infoimation, oi they ueciueu
aftei a peiiou of conscious thought, oi they ueciueu aftei a peiiou of uistiaction
uuiing which they engageu in unconscious thought. The common iesult was that
unconscious thinkeis maue bettei uecisions than paiticipants in the othei two
conuitions.
In the cuiient woik, we want to sheu moie light on the piocess of
unconscious thought. The specific natuie of oui unconscious thought conuitions
in eailiei expeiiments leaves an impoitant question unansweieu: Is unconscious
thought goal-uepenuent. 0ne possibility is that we always (oi at least veiy often)
engage in unconscious thought aftei having encoueu infoimation. If this is the
case, unconscious thought is meiely a iesiuual piocess that follows the encouing
of infoimation. Anothei possibility is that unconscious thought only takes place
when we have the goal to piocess infoimation. It woulu mean that, aftei having
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
2S
encoueu infoimation, we only engage in fuithei unconscious thought if it is
impoitant, foi instance, because we have to make a uecision with the help of this
infoimation. At face value, one coulu aigue that the fiist possibility
unconscious thought as a iesiuual piocess following encouing is iathei
inefficient. Aftei all, we piocess enoimous amounts of infoimation on a uaily
basis, anu thinking about all of this woulu become a uaunting enteipiise, even foi
the unconscious with its high capacity. That being saiu, the fact that one
alteinative may be somewhat inefficient is not a sufficient ieason to uecline it.
0ui eailiei woik uoes not speak to whethei unconscious thought is goal-
uepenuent. Paiticipants in the unconscious thought conuitions weie always
given a goal, oi at least an expectation that they woulu latei have to uo something
with the infoimation they hau encoueu (again, usually to make a uecision). Foi
instance, aftei having ieau about foui cais, but immeuiately befoie they weie
uistiacteu, paiticipants weie tolu that they woulu have to answei questions
about the cais latei (Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6) oi aftei having been piesenteu
with infoimation about apaitments paiticipants weie tolu that they woulu latei
have to choose among them (Bijksteihuis, 2uu4). Bence, we know unconscious
thought takes place when people have a goal that involves fuithei piocessing of
the infoimation, but what happens without such a goal.
The question whethei unconscious thought is goal-uepenuent is
impoitant fiom a theoietical peispective, because it helps us to bettei
unueistanu the piocess of unconscious thought. An alteinative explanation foi
unconscious thought effects is the piocess of set-shifting (see e.g., Schoolei &
Nelchei, 199S, foi an elaboiation in the uomain of cieativity). That is, one coulu
assume that the beneficial effects of a peiiou of uistiaction fiom a uecision
pioblem uo not iesult fiom an active unconscious thought piocess, but meiely
fiom the uisiuption of non-piouuctive conscious thought. Foi instance, people
often appioach a pioblem with wiong cues, wiong heuiistics anuoi wiong
infoimation. Following a peiiou of uistiaction, such wiong appioaches become
less accessible oi aie foigotten altogethei. The effects of uistiaction on a change
of mental set can be both veiy pionounceu (such as when one tiies to solve a
chess pioblem anu initially gets tiuly ''fixeu" in thinking along a wiong path) oi
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
24
moie subtle (such as when uistiaction attenuates the biasing influence of
piimacy oi iecency effects). Such piocesses aie often categoiizeu unuei the
umbiella of the ''fiesh-look" explanation: Putting a pioblem asiue foi a while
allows foi a fiesh, unbiaseu new stait.
Bowevei, we maintain (see Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis & Noiugien,
2uu6; Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6) that unconscious thought is an active piocess.
Buiing a peiiou of uistiaction, unconscious thought leaus to a uiffeient (i.e.,
bettei) oiganization of infoimation in memoiy anu to a moie cleai, polaiizeu
evaluation of uiffeient uecision alteinatives. The piesent ieseaich helps us to
uistinguish between active, unconscious thought, as we piopose, anu the ''fiesh-
look" alteinative wheieby people meiely benefit fiom uistiaction because it
inteiiupts conscious thought. Aftei all, an explanation in teims of set-shifting
woulu pieuict that unconscious thought effects aie inuepenuent of goals anu that
only a peiiou of uistiaction is necessaiy foi unconscious thought effects to occui.
0ne may be skeptical about the possibility of unconscious thought being
goal-uepenuent, because goal puisuit has long been associateu with the neeu of
conscious guiuance (Banuuia, 1986; Caivei & Scheiei, 1998; Beci & Ryan, 198S;
uollwitzei, 199u; Locke & Latham, 199u; summaiies in uollwitzei & Noskowitz,
1996; Nischel, Cantoi, & Feluman, 1996; 0ettingen & uollwitzei, 2uu1). Bowevei,
the cuiient state of affaiis in the liteiatuie on goal-puisuit allows foi the
possibility of unconscious thought being goal-uepenuent. In pievious
expeiiments conuucteu in oui laboiatoiy, paiticipants in the unconscious
thought conuitions weie tolu that they woulu latei have to use the infoimation
again, foi instance, to make a uecision. This implies that, goal setting (making a
uecision) was conscious. Bowevei, if inueeu unconscious thought is goal-
uepenuent, it follows that in oui expeiiments goal-monitoiing was unconscious.
That is, contiol of the piogiess towaius ieaching the goal, which accompanies
goal puisuit, was uone uuiing unconscious thought. Recent ieseaich
uemonstiates that this is possible inueeu. We know that not only can goals be set
unconsciously (Baigh & uollwitzei, 1994; Noskowitz, uollwitzei, Wasel, & Schaal,
1999), but also that they can be monitoieu unconsciously (Bongeis &
Bijksteihuis, 2uu9; Noskowitz, Li, & Kiik, 2uu4), In fact, goals can even iun to
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
2S
completion without any conscious guiuance (Baigh, 199u; Baigh & Chaitianu,
1999; Baigh & uollwitzei, 1994; Baigh, uollwitzei, Lee-Chai, Bainuollai, &
Tioetschel, 2uu1; Custeis & Aaits, 2uuS).
?.&'.-&@ +1 %"& &A$&'-,&4%/
To test whethei unconscious thought is goal-uepenuent, we conuucteu
foui expeiiments. In Expeiiments 1a anu b, paiticipants weie given infoimation
about foui cais. 0ne of the foui cais was maue moie attiactive than the otheis,
wheieas one was maue less attiactive than the otheis. In Expeiiment 1a,
paiticipants latei juugeu the cais anu the uiffeience between the attituues
towaius the two cais was taken as a measuie foi how well paiticipants coulu
uistinguish between the goou anu the bau cai (as in Bijksteihuis, 2uu4;
Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6). In Expeiiment 1b, paiticipants weie askeu to iecall as
many aspects of the cais as possible. Befoie the uepenuent vaiiables weie
auministeieu in Expeiiments 1a anu b, paiticipants weie uiviueu into thiee
conuitions. Paiticipants weie eithei piobeu aftei a peiiou of conscious thought,
oi aftei a peiiou of uistiaction that staiteu with the instiuction they woulu have
to answei questions about the infoimation (the unconscious thought conuition
in oui pievious woik). In a thiiu, new conuition, paiticipants weie uistiacteu
aftei they hau been tolu that the task about the about the cais was ovei anu
hence, that they woulu not have to answei any questions about the cais anymoie
(fiom now on, the ''meie uistiaction conuition").
In Expeiiment 2, paiticipants weie given behavioial infoimation about a
taiget peison. They weie askeu to wiite uown as much as they coulu iemembei
about the taiget peison, eithei aftei meie uistiaction oi aftei a peiiou of
unconscious thought. The amount of clusteiing of the behavioial infoimation,
inuicating the oiganization of the infoimation in memoiy, was measuieu (as in
Bijksteihuis, 2uu4).
In Expeiiment S, paiticipants weie given infoimation about two uiffeient
uecision pioblems, namely cais anu ioommates. They weie then given the goal to
eithei unconsciously think about the cais oi about the ioommates. Aftei a peiiou
of unconscious thought, they weie askeu to iate both the cais anu the ioommates
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
26
on attiactiveness. With this expeiiment we exploieu to what extent moie specific
goals can affect unconscious thought. Can we stiategically think unconsciously
about one thing but not the othei, even if the infoimation was encoueu at the
same time.
BA$&'-,&4% )#C D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5' "#* *+').#
Paiticipants weie unueigiauuate stuuents ieciuiteu at the 0niveisity of
Amsteiuam. 0f the 47 paiticipants, 18 weie male. The aveiage age was 2u.7 (8;
= 2.89). Paiticipants eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi money (seven euios) foi
theii paiticipation. The paiticipants weie assigneu to one of thiee conuitions: a
conscious thought conuition, an unconscious thought conuition, oi a meie
uistiaction conuition.
B%&!+*7%+ "#* ,"5+%)"3'
The expeiiment was conuucteu in a seiies of many unielateu
expeiiments. All the expeiiments weie conuucteu on a computei. Paiticipants
weie tolu they woulu ieceive infoimation about foui cais, nameu the Basuka, the
Nabusi, the Kaiwa anu the Batsuun. They weie askeu to pay close attention to the
infoimation. The paiauigm was the same as the one useu by Bijksteihuis et al.
(2uu6). Each of the foui cais was uesciibeu with 12 attiibutes (foi instance, the
Basuka is bianu new, the Nabusi has goou mileage, etc.). 0ne of the cais was the
best cai, with eight positive attiibutes anu foui negative attiibutes, one cai was
the woist, with foui positive attiibutes anu eight negative attiibutes anu the
othei cais weie inteimeuiate, with both six positive anu six negative attiibutes.
As not all attiibutes weie equally impoitant, we maue suie that the best cai
excelleu on the most impoitant aspects wheieas the woist cai excelleu piimaiily
on unimpoitant attiibutes. The 48 pieces of infoimation weie piesenteu to the
paiticipants on a computei scieen. Each piece was piesenteu foi 4 s, with a u.S s
inteival between.
Aftei the piesentation of the infoimation paiticipants weie assigneu to
one of the thiee conuitions. The paiticipants in the conscious thought conuition
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
27
weie askeu to think about theii impiession of the cais foi 4 minutes. The
paiticipants in the meie uistiaction conuition weie shown a stanuaiu scieen,
useu many times pieviously in expeiiments in the same ieseaich laboiatoiy,
inuicating that the expeiiment was now ovei anu that they woulu continue to uo
anothei task. They then ieceiveu a uistiaction task in which they weie askeu to
solve a woiu seaich puzzle. In the woiu seaich puzzle, we useu only neutial,
munuane woius (e.g., 'chaii' oi 'table'). The paiticipants in the unconscious
thought conuition weie tolu that they woulu have to peifoim anothei task, but
that aftei this task they woulu be askeu about theii opinion about the cais,
theieby giving them the goal to piocess the infoimation uuiing the uistiaction
task they ieceiveu. Theii uistiaction task was the same as in the meie uistiaction
conuition.
Afteiwaius, all paiticipants weie given 2u-point attituue scales, asking
them theii opinion about the cais (e.g., ''to what extent uiu you think the Nabusi
was a goou cai.", ianging fiom 'not at all' to 'veiy much so').
E&/69%/
Paiticipants' peifoimance was assesseu by subtiacting theii attituue
scoie foi the woist cai fiom theii attituue scoie foi the best cai. This cieateu an
attituue uiffeience scoie inuicating to what extent paiticipants weie able to
uiffeientiate between the best anu the woist cai (taken fiom Bijksteihuis et al.,
2uu6; see also Bijksteihuis, 2uu4).
The uiffeience scoies weie compaieu in an analysis of vaiiance. A main
effect of conuition was founu, /(2, 44) = 12.SS, 9 < .u1, = u.S6. The attituue
uiffeience scoie foi the paiticipants in the unconscious thought conuition (< =
7.uu, 8; = 4.u4) uiffeieu significantly fiom the attituue uiffeience scoie foi the
paiticipants in the conscious thought conuition (< = 1.26, 8; = S.49), /(1, S2) =
19.71, 9 < .u1, = u.S8, anu fiom the attituue uiffeience scoie foi the
paiticipants in the meie uistiaction conuition (< = u.S4, 8; = 4.29), /(1, 26) =
16.8S, 9 < .u1, = u.S9. These lattei two scoies uiu not uiffei significantly (/ <
1).
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
28
BA$&'-,&4% )>
The instiuction in the meie uistiaction conuition, wheie the paiticipants
weie leu to believe they woulu continue with a uiffeient expeiiment, allows foi a
uiffeient explanation of the finuings of Expeiiment 1a. The iesults coulu
potentially be explaineu by a ''uiiecteu foigetting effect" as uesciibeu by
NacLeou (1998). Woik on uiiecteu foigetting shows that giving paiticipants an
instiuction to foiget iesults in pooiei memoiy of infoimation compaieu to when
paiticipants aie given an instiuction to iemembei. The instiuction oui
paiticipants in the meie uistiaction weie given, coulu be conceiveu of as similai
to an instiuction to foiget. It is possible that the uiffeience in attituue between
the unconscious thought anu the meie uistiaction conuition was causeu not by
actual unconscious thought in the appiopiiate conuition, but by uiffeiential
memoiy. Peihaps paiticipants in both conuitions simply juugeu on the basis of
what they coulu iecall aftei the uistiaction task, wheieby paiticipants in the
meie uistiaction conuition unueipeifoimeu because they hau foigotten the
ielevant infoimation. As this is an alteinative explanation woith exploiing
1
, we
conuucteu Expeiiment 1b. The expeiiment is exactly the same as Expeiiment 1a,
but insteau of theii attituues towaius the cais, paiticipants weie now askeu to
wiite uown as much as they coulu iemembei about each cai.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5'
Paiticipants weie unueigiauuate stuuents ieciuiteu at the 0niveisity of
Nijmegen. 0f the 126 paiticipants, SS weie male. The aveiage age was 21.6 (8; =
S.79). Paiticipants eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi money (eight euios) foi theii
paiticipation.
B%&!+*7%+
The pioceuuie foi Expeiiment 1b was almost iuentical to the pioceuuie
foi Expeiiment 1a, but insteau of theii attituue towaius the cais, paiticipants
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
29
1
I woulu like to thank }onathan Schoolei foi suggesting Expeiiment 1b.
weie now instiucteu to wiite uown as much as they coulu iemembei about the
cais. They weie given S minutes foi this task.
E+'735'
As each of the foui cais hau been uesciibeu with both positive anu
negative infoimation, we analyzeu the iecall uata accoiuing to a S (conuition:
conscious thought veisus unconscious thought veisus meie uistiaction) x 4 (Cai
A to B) x 2 (valence: positive veisus negative infoimation) with the last two
factois within-paiticipants. 0ui analyses of vaiiance confiimeu that paiticipants
uiu not uiffei in theii total iecall of infoimation, not in the iecall of positive
infoimation oi iecall of negative infoimation, not with iespect to iecall eiiois
anu not with iespect to iecall of any one of the cais (all /s < 1).
;)'!7'')&#
Expeiiment 1a cleaily showeu that paiticipants in the conscious thought
conuition weie outpeifoimeu by paiticipants in the unconscious thought
conuition in theii ability to uistinguish between the best cai anu the woist cai.
With this effect, we ieplicateu oui eailiei woik. Noie impoitantly, paiticipants in
the unconscious thought conuition also outpeifoimeu the paiticipants in the
meie uistiaction conuition uemonstiating that unconscious thought is goal-
uepenuent anu at the same time iefuting a set-shifting oi ''fiesh-look" alteinative
explanation. Expeiiment 1b showeu that the finuings in Expeiiment 1a cannot be
explaineu by uiiecteu foigetting occuiiing in the meie uistiaction conuition. In
sum, in combination the finuings of Expeiiments 1a anu b pioviue stiong
suppoit foi the hypothesis that unconscious thought is goal-uepenuent.
BA$&'-,&4% <
In Expeiiment 2, we useu a uiffeient paiauigm to test the goal-
uepenuency of unconscious thought. The paiauigm was taken fiom Bijksteihuis
(2uu4, Expeiiment S). In that expeiiment, paiticipants ieceiveu infoimation
about a peison, }eioen, with the instiuction to foim an impiession of him. }eioen
was uesciibeu by 18 behaviois anu these behaviois weie all uesciiptive of one of
thiee peisonality tiaits. Latei iecall uata showeu that paiticipants who hau
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
Su
thought about }eioen unconsciously hau clusteieu the infoimation in memoiy
aiounu these thiee tiaits. Paiticipants who hau thought about }eioen consciously
oi who hau not thought about }eioen at all uiu not show this oiganization of the
infoimation in memoiy. In the piesent expeiiment, we tiy to ieplicate this
expeiiment with, in auuition to an unconscious thought conuition, a meie
uistiaction conuition.
In Expeiiment 2, we ueciueu not to incluue a conscious thought conuition.
In Expeiiments 1a anu b we incluueu such a conuition to be able to ieplicate the
effects we founu in oui eailiei woik (i.e., that unconscious thought leaus to
bettei uecisions than conscious thought), but a conscious thought conuition is
not necessaiy foi the hypothesis unuei consiueiation.
In Expeiiments 1a anu b, paiticipants in the meie uistiaction conuition
weie given infoimation about the foui cais anu weie then tolu that the
expeiiment was ovei. Although we iefuteu an alteinative explanation in teims of
uiffeiential iecall in Expeiiment 1b, it coulu still be the case that the instiuction
given in Expeiiments 1a anu b comes acioss as ouu foi paiticipants, as they
ieceive infoimation they aie then askeu not to uo anything with. Foi this ieason,
in Expeiiment 2 we useu a slightly uiffeient pioceuuie.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5' "#* *+').#
Foity native Butch unueigiauuate stuuents weie ieciuiteu at the
0niveisity of Amsteiuam. 0f the 4u paiticipants with an aveiage age of 21.2 (8;
= S.49), seven weie male. Paiticipants eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi money
(seven euios) foi theii paiticipation. The paiticipants weie assigneu to one of
two conuitions: an unconscious thought conuition anu a meie uistiaction
conuition.
B%&!+*7%+ "#* ,"5+%)"3'
Paiticipants weie tolu they woulu be piesenteu with infoimation about a
peison nameu ''}eioen". Subsequently, 18 shoit sentences weie piesenteu one by
one on a computei scieen in ianuom oiuei. A sentence stayeu on the scieen foi S
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
S1
s, with the next sentence appeaiing aftei a pause of half a seconu. All sentences
weie pie-testeu to loau on one of thiee tiait categoiies. Six of the sentences
inuicateu intelligence, six otheis weie inuicative of }eioen being athletic anu the
iemaining six weie inuicative of }eioen being politically left-wing.
As saiu, in Expeiiments 1a anu b we tolu paiticipants in the meie
uistiaction conuition that the expeiiment was ovei immeuiately aftei they hau
encoueu the infoimation. Some paiticipants may have founu this haiu to believe.
We ueemeu such infoimation to be moie plausible aftei giving paiticipants the
feeling that they hau at least uone something with the infoimation they hau just
ieau. Theiefoie, paiticipants weie askeu how sympathetic they thought }eioen
was immeuiately aftei they hau ieau the infoimation about }eioen. They coulu
inuicate theii answei on a 9-point scale.
Subsequently, paiticipants weie assigneu to the conuitions. In the meie
uistiaction conuition, paiticipants weie tolu the expeiiment was ovei anu that
they woulu now continue with anothei task. In the unconscious thought
conuition, paiticipants weie tolu they woulu continue with anothei task, but that
they woulu be askeu a couple of questions about }eioen afteiwaius. The
uistiaction task consisteu of anagiams. Aftei the uistiaction task, paiticipants
weie given 4 minutes to wiite uown as much as they coulu iemembei about
}eioen.
E&/69%/ #42 2-/36//-+4
In oiuei to compaie the amount of clusteiing in memoiy of the
infoimation, a clusteiing scoie was computeu pei paiticipant. We uiu this by
calculating conuitional piobabilities in the fiee iecall piotocol (see Bijksteihuis,
2uu4; Bamilton, Biiscoll, & Woith, 1989; anu Bijksteihuis & van Knippenbeig,
1996). The numbei of same-tiait sequences (e.g., an intelligent behavioi iecalleu
aftei anothei intelligent behavioi) was uiviueu by the total numbei of behaviois
iecalleu minus one. Bighei clusteiing scoies iepiesent moie integiation anu
oiganization in memoiy of the infoimation. Inueeu, the clusteiing scoies weie
highei in the unconscious thought conuition (< = u.4S, 8; = u.1S6) than in the
meie uistiaction conuition (< = u.28, 8; = u.1S4), 5(1, S8) = S.4S, 9 < .u1, =
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S2
u.24. Paiticipants who weie given the goal to think unconsciously show gieatei
oiganization anu integiation than paiticipants in the meie uistiaction conuition.
BA$&'-,&4% F
In Expeiiment S, we go one step fuithei. Now that it is uemonstiateu that
unconscious thought is goal-uepenuent, is it possible that unconscious thought is
sensitive to moie specific goals. In Expeiiments 1 anu 2, the activateu goal was
veiy geneial in the sense that paiticipants knew they woulu be piobeu about the
infoimation they hau just ieau. But what if they know they will only be piobeu
about some of the infoimation, but not all.
In Expeiiment S, we piesent paiticipants with infoimation about two
uecision pioblems: 0ne about cais, anu one about ioommates. Latei, some
paiticipants aie given the goal to ieach a uecision about the cais, wheieas othei
aie given the goal to ueciue between the ioommates. Aftei a peiiou of
unconscious thought, all paiticipants aie askeu about the cais anu about the
ioommates. The question is whethei someone who has the goal to ueciue
between cais but not ioommates will inueeu make a bettei uecision about the
cais than about the ioommates, anu vice veisa.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5' "#* *+').#
0ne hunuieu thiity eight unueigiauuate stuuents fiom the 0niveisity of
Amsteiuam paiticipateu in the Expeiiment. 0f the 1S8 paiticipants, with an
aveiage age of 21 (8; = 2.6S), S2 weie male. They ieceiveu eithei couise cieuits
oi money (seven euios) foi theii paiticipation. They weie assigneu to one of two
conuitions: an unconscious thought conuition wheie they weie given the goal to
think unconsciously about cais oi an unconscious thought conuition wheie they
weie given the goal to think unconsciously about ioommates.
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
SS
B%&!+*7%+ "#* ,"5+%)"3'
In Expeiiment S, paiticipants ieceiveu infoimation about thiee cais anu
thiee ioommates. Each cai anu each ioommate was uesciibeu by 1u aspects. 0ne
of the cais was the best cai, with eight positive anu two negative aspects. Anothei
cai was the woist of the thiee with two positive anu eight negative aspects. The
thiiu cai hau both five positive anu five negative aspects. The ioommate
mateiials weie constiucteu the same way: one ioommate hau eight positive anu
two negative aspects, one hau two positive anu eight negative aspects anu the
thiiu ioommate hau both five positive anu five negative aspects.
In total, paiticipants ieceiveu 6u pieces of infoimation. The infoimation
was shown in ianuom oiuei, wheieby all infoimation appeaieu on the scieen foi
4 s. Aftei the piesentation of the infoimation, paiticipants weie then eithei tolu
they woulu latei be askeu questions about the cais oi they weie tolu they woulu
latei be askeu questions about the ioommates. They weie then given an n-back
task foi uistiaction. In the n-back task, paiticipants see numbeis on the
computei scieen foi 1 s, with half a seconu between the numbeis. If the numbei
they see is the same numbei as the numbei n places befoie, they aie supposeu to
piess the spacebai. In the piesent expeiiment a 2-back task was useu. The 2-back
task is not veiy uifficult to peifoim, but uoes iequiie a lot of conscious attention,
theieby uisabling conscious thought about any othei infoimation (}oniues et al.,
1997).
Afteiwaius, all paiticipants weie given 2u-point attituue scales, asking
them to iate the cais anu the ioommates (e.g., ''to what extent uiu you think
Roommate 1 was a goou ioommate.", ianging fiom 'not at all' to 'veiy much so').
E&/69%/ #42 2-/36//-+4
To assess how well paiticipants weie able to uistinguish between the best
anu the woist alteinative foi both the cais anu the ioommates, attituue
uiffeience scoies weie cieateu by subtiacting the attituue scoie foi the woist cai
fiom the attituue scoie foi the best cai anu by subtiacting the attituue scoie foi
the woist ioommate fiom the attituue scoie foi the best ioommate. To test the
hypothesis that giving paiticipants the goal to think about one topic anu not the
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S4
othei leaus to uiffeiential unconscious thought, we compaieu the uiffeience
scoies between conuitions using a 2 (conuition: goal to think about cais veisus
goal to think about ioommates) x 2 (uiffeience scoie: cais veisus ioommates)
analysis of vaiiance.
The pieuicteu inteiaction was significant, /(1, 1S6) = 4.12, 9 < .uS, = .
uS. Paiticipants weie bettei able to uistinguish between the best anu the woist
alteinative foi the mateiials they weie askeu to think about than foi the
mateiials they weie not askeu to think about. Inueeu, the effect of conuition on
the uiffeience scoie foi the ioommates was significant, /(1, 1S6) = 4.64, 9 < .uS,
= .uS. Paiticipants who weie given the goal to think unconsciously about the
ioommates showeu a highei uiffeience scoie foi the ioommates (< = 7.94, 8; =
4.87) than paiticipants who weie given the goal to think unconsciously about the
cais (< = S.97, 8; = S.87). Paiticipants who weie given the goal to think
unconsciously about the cais uiu not show a significantly highei uiffeience scoie
foi the cais (< = S.uu, 8; = S.91) than paiticipants who wheie given a goal to
think about the ioommates (< = 2.81, 8; = 6.S9), /(1, 1S6) < 1, ns. Still, the
significant two-way inteiaction allows foi the conclusion that unconscious
thought is not just goal-uepenuent, but also capable of obeying goals that aie
quite specific.
We also obtaineu a main effect of mateiials, /(1, 1S6) = S7,71, 9 < .u1,
= .Su. Paiticipants weie bettei able to uistinguish the quality of the ioommates
than to uistinguish the quality of the cais. This effect, unimpoitant foi oui
hypothesis, may have been causeu by the fact that the attiactive anu the
unattiactive ioommates inueeu uiffeieu moie than the attiactive anu the
unattiactive cais. Anothei ieason may be that the infoimation that was
piesenteu about the cais was less inteiesting foi paiticipants than the
infoimation that was piesenteu about the potential ioommates.
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
SS
G&4&'#9 2-/36//-+4
The iesults of the foui expeiiments uemonstiateu that unconscious
thought is a goal-uepenuent piocess. Without the goal to piocess the infoimation
foi a latei puipose, unconscious thought uoes not occui. uiving paiticipants the
goal to think unconsciously piioi to a uistiaction task impioveu theii
peifoimance on attituue foimation (Expeiiment 1a) anu on infoimation
integiation (Expeiiment 2). Fuitheimoie, giving paiticipants a specific goal to
think about some infoimation anu not otheis was obeyeu by unconscious
thought (Expeiiment S).
0ui finuings have vaiious implications. Theoietically, the finuings aie
impoitant as they suppoit the iuea that unconscious thought is an active thought
piocess. The alteinative iuea, that paiticipants in oui woik simply benefit fiom
set-shifting (oi, a ''fiesh-look") because of a peiiou of uistiaction is iefuteu by the
cuiient uata. Paiticipants in oui meie uistiaction conuitions coulu just as well
have engageu in set-shifting, but they uiu not benefit fiom it. They consistently
unueipeifoimeu ielative to paiticipants in the unconscious thought conuitions.
The cuiient finuings aie also ielevant fiom a piactical peispective,
because they show that unconscious thought can be applieu stiategically. We can
benefit fiom the poweiful anu high capacity unconscious thought at will, by
actively ueciuing to uelegate thinking to the unconscious. The question is to what
extent we can uo this. Bow flexible is unconscious thought. 0ui last expeiiment
suggests a iemaikable uegiee of flexibility in that people can ueciue to
unconsciously think about some things anu not otheis.
0thei questions iemain though. What if one piocesses infoimation about
a numbei of houses, anu only then heais that the objective is to choose a house
foi one's gianumothei who cannot negotiate staiis anymoie. This iequiies a
ceitain uegiee of goal-flexibility. Anu what about goal stiength. Is unconscious
thought moie effective foi things that aie extiemely impoitant than foi things
that aie moueiately impoitant. Finally, anu this is impoitant with iespect to
ecological valiuity: how anu when uo we implement the goal to unconsciously
think in ieal life, that is, when theie aie no convenient instiuctions pioviueu by
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S6
expeiimenteis. The bottom-line is that the cuiient finuings open up a host of
new questions ielateu to the potential flexibility anu sophistication of
unconscious thought.
Chaptei 2 - The goal-uepenuency of unconscious thought
S7
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S8
!"#$%&' F
Complexity anu unconscious thought
Baseu on: Bos, N.W., Bijksteihuis, A., Bongeis, K.C.A., van uei Leij, A.R.,
Sjoeiusma, A., & van Baaien, R.B. (2u1u). F#!&#'!)&7' 51&7.15 G)51 *)?H)!735 "#*
+!&3&.)!"336 2"3)* *+!)')&# 9%&43+,'. Nanusciipt submitteu foi publication.
=>/%'#3%
vaiious expeiiments have shown that uecisions maue aftei a peiiou of
unconscious thought aie sometimes bettei than uecisions maue aftei conscious
uelibeiation. 0nconscious thought is especially helpful when the uecision
pioblem is complex (Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien, & van Baaien, 2uu6). In the
piesent aiticle, unconscious thought was stuuieu unuei uifficult uecision
ciicumstances that weie moie ecologically valiu than in eailiei expeiiments. In
the fiist expeiiment, paiticipants chose between six houses baseu on the actual
infoimation of a ieal estate website. In the seconu expeiiment, paiticipants maue
five choices at the same time. In both expeiiments it was shown that unconscious
thinkeis maue bettei uecisions than conscious thinkeis anu than immeuiate
uecision makeis.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
4u

F#!&#'!)&7' I1&7.15
We aie faceu with many complex uecisions. When contemplating to buy a
house, foi instance, common wisuom uictates to weight all aspects of the
uecision consciously in oiuei to come to a balanceu uecision. As oui mental
iesouices anu attention aie limiteu (Fiske & Neubeig, 199u; Kahneman, 197S),
the question aiises whethei complex uecisions aie inueeu best maue aftei
conscious uelibeiation. Recent ieseaich suggests they aie not (Bijksteihuis, Bos,
Noiugien, & van Baaien, 2uu6).
In a typical unconscious thought expeiiment, paiticipants aie fiist
piesenteu with infoimation peitaining to a uecision pioblem. Latei, they aie
askeu questions about this infoimation (usually they aie askeu to choose among
alteinatives) unuei thiee uiffeient conuitions. Paiticipants eithei ueciue
immeuiately aftei being piesenteu with the infoimation, oi they ueciueu aftei a
peiiou of conscious thought, oi they ueciueu aftei a peiiou of uistiaction uuiing
which they engageu in unconscious thought. The common iesult is that
unconscious thinkeis maue the best uecisions (Bos, Bijksteihuis, & van Baaien,
2uu8; Bijksteihuis, Bos, van uei Leij, & van Baaien, 2uu9; Bam & van uen Bos,
2u1ua; Bam, van uen Bos, & van Booin, 2uu9; Leiouge, 2uu9; Pochwatko,
Sweklej, Balas, & uoulewska, 2uu8; Smith, Bijksteihuis, & Wigboluus, 2uu8;
Wilbui, Caion, & Campbell, 2uu8).
The above ieseaich notwithstanuing, many expeits on uecision making
woulu aigue that, when facing a complex uecision, one woulu uo well to
consciously attenu to all aspects of the uecision anu to consciously weight all
ielevant aspects thoioughly (see e.g., }anis & Nann, 1977). In oiuei to ieconcile
this iuea with the iesults on unconscious thought, the uecision paiauigm useu to
assess effects of unconscious thought has been ciiticizeu. In auuition, some
ieseaicheis faileu to ieplicate the unconscious thought effect anu founu that
conscious thinkeis anu unconscious thinkeis peifoim equally well (uonzalez-
vallejo, Lassitei, Belezza, & Linubeig, 2uu8; Payne, Sampei, Bettman, & Luce,
2uu8; Lassitei, Linubeig, uonzalez-vallejo, Belleza, & Phillips, 2uu9), suggesting
that theie aie moueiatois that have yet to be iuentifieu.
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
41
A key question is to what extent the unconscious thought effect is
geneializable to othei paiauigms oi situations (see also Bekkei, 2uu6). The effect
has been founu foi seveial uiffeient choices, incluuing hypothetical houses anu
cais, posteis that people coulu take home (wheieby quality of choice was
opeiationalizeu as post-choice satisfaction), foi pieuictions of spoit games
(Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu9), anu foi justice anu moial juugments (Bam & van uen
Bos, 2u1ua; 2u1ub).
That being saiu, the pioceuuie that is useu most often has some
limitations. The uecisions aie often much less complex than actual uecisions in
ieal life. In auuition, some aspects of the pioceuuie in eailiei expeiiments aie
suboptimal with iegaius to ecological valiuity. Fiist, conscious thinkeis weie not
alloweu to view the infoimation while they engageu in conscious thought. This
uoes not ieflect ieal-life uecision making anu it may also have poseu memoiy
oveiloau on paiticipants (Shanks, 2uu6). Seconu, conscious thinkeis weie askeu
to think foi a fixeu amount of time. This may have leu people to think longei than
they woulu noimally uo (Payne et al., 2uu8). Thiiuly, in many expeiiments, the
attiibutes of the choice alteinatives weie piesenteu in ianuom oiuei, iathei than
gioupeu by choice alteinative (uonzalez-vallejo et al., 2uu8). A iecent meta-
analysis inueeu shows that when the attiibutes aie gioupeu by choice alteinative
unconscious thought leaus to bettei iesults compaieu to when attiibutes weie
piesenteu in ianuom oiuei (Stiick, Bijksteihuis, Bos, Sjoeiusma, van Baaien, &
Noiugien, 2u1u). Finally, unconscious thinkeis weie geneially given only a
limiteu amount of time to engage in unconscious thought.
In auuition, in uaily life we aie sometimes not just faceu with one uecision,
it is fai moie likely that we aie facing seveial simultaneous uecisions. While
ieauing this papei you may be contemplating which jouinal to submit youi new
woik to, whethei to call a fiienu tonight, anu what to eat tonight. 0nconscious
thought has nevei been investigateu unuei ciicumstances wheie paiticipants
hau to make multiple uecision at once.
In the piesent stuuies, we investigateu unconscious thought in moie
uemanuing, anu moie ecologically valiu, ciicumstances. In the fiist expeiiment,
paiticipants weie given infoimation about six houses that weie on sale with the
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
42
instiuction to choose. The houses weie ieal houses that weie on sale in
Nijmegen, anu the infoimation was taken fiom a ieal estate website. We
auuiesseu the limitations auuiesseu above (except foi the pioblem that people
sometimes face multiple uecisions at once). We piesenteu the infoimation pei
choice alteinative, we auueu a conscious thought conuition wheie paiticipants
coulu ieview all infoimation anu we alloweu conscious thinkeis to think as long
oi shoit as they likeu . 0ui paiauigm alteiations aimeu at cieating a moie
ecologically valiu uecision pioblem.
In the seconu expeiiment, paiticipants weie not just given one uecision
pioblem, but five simultaneous uecisions to piocess.
BA$&'-,&4% )
In Expeiiment 1, paiticipants ieau infoimation about six houses that weie
on sale in Nijmegen. The infoimation they ieceiveu was taken fiom a ieal estate
website anu piesenteu by choice alteinative, as on the actual website, except that
the asking piices of the houses weie iemoveu, as estimates of these piices
constituteu oui uepenuent vaiiable. We ian foui conuitions. Some paiticipants
maue theii estimates immeuiately, otheis weie given as much time as they
wanteu to consciously think. A thiiu gioup coulu think consciously too, but weie
also given access to the infoimation about the houses while they thought. The
last gioup thought unconsciously foi appioximately 4S to Su minutes.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5'
0f the 17u unueigiauuate stuuents fiom the Raubouu 0niveisity
Nijmegen who paiticipateu, with an aveiage age of 21.1 (8; = S.2u), S2 weie
male. They eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi 8 Euios.
<"5+%)"3' "#* B%&!+*7%+
Paiticipants weie seateu in inuiviuual cubicles in fiont of a computei. A
computei piogiam pioviueu the instiuctions. Paiticipants weie askeu to
caiefully ieau infoimation about six houses that weie on sale in Nijmegen. The
infoimation was taken fiom the biggest Butch ieal estate website
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
4S
(www.funua.nl) anu piesenteu as on the actual website, with one impoitant
exception: The asking piices of the houses weie iemoveu. The opening scieen foi
each house containeu a small photogiaph, the auuiess, anu a geneial uesciiption
of the house (see Figuie 2.1). 0n the left siue of the scieen, options weie given to
select othei infoimation: A list with featuies anu numeiical infoimation (e.g.,
size); a set of auuitional photogiaphs (about 1S pei house); anu a map of the
neighboihoou. Paiticipants coulu fieely move back anu foith between the
uiffeient scieens, anu they weie given 9u seconus to view the infoimation of
each inuiviuual house. Paiticipants coulu see how much time they hau left befoie
they woulu be piesenteu with the infoimation of the next house.
H-06'& <I)I A scieenshot of how the infoimation about the houses was piesenteu. We tianslateu
the impoitant infoimation in English foi this publication. 0ui paiticipants ieau eveiything in
Butch.
We selecteu the houses with the goal to obtain a set with giauual
uiffeiences in value. The asking piices foi the six houses weie, in Euios, SS9,uuu,
S2u,uuu, 47u,uuu, 449,Suu, S99,uuu anu S69,uuu. Asking piices aie geneially
iealistic in the Netheilanus anu houses aie usually solu foi a piice close to the
asking piice.
Aftei paiticipants ieau the infoimation about the six houses, they weie
tolu we weie inteiesteu in how well they coulu uistinguish between the value of
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
44
the houses anu that theii task was to estimate the piices of the houses. In oiuei
to motivate paiticipants to uo theii best, they weie tolu that the five paiticipants
with the most accuiate estimates woulu ieceive a monetaiy iewaiu of Su Euios.
Subsequently, we ianuomly assigneu paiticipants to one of foui conuitions.
Paiticipants weie eithei askeu to make theii estimates immeuiately, oi aftei
conscious thought wheie paiticipants weie alloweu to think as long as they
wanteu (on aveiage, paiticipants took 44 seconus), oi aftei conscious thought
wheie paiticipants weie alloweu to think as long as they wanteu but coulu also
ieieau all the piesenteu infoimation in any oiuei they wisheu (paiticipants took
on aveiage S minutes anu 8 seconus, but vaiiance was consiueiable, ianging
fiom 8 seconus to 42 minutes), oi aftei an unconscious thought conuition. In this
last conuition paiticipants weie tolu they woulu make theii estimates latei anu
then fiist paiticipateu in vaiious othei, unielateu expeiiments befoie, at the enu
of the expeiimental session - about 4S to Su minutes latei - they maue theii
estimates.
;+9+#*+#5 2"%)"43+'
Paiticipants weie fiist piesenteu with the six houses simultaneously anu
askeu to choose theii favoiite. Aftei that, each house was piesenteu inuiviuually
anu paiticipants estimateu the asking piice of each. As we weie inteiesteu in
how well paiticipants coulu uistinguish between the most valuable anu the least
valuable house, the uiffeience in estimate of these two houses constituteu oui
main uepenuent vaiiable.
E&/69%/ #42 J-/36//-+4
Five paiticipants weie omitteu because theii estimates weie so high
(moie than 2 million Euios pei house) that they woulu have a uispiopoitionate
effect on cell means.
We analyzeu the uiffeience in estimateu piice between the most valuable
anu the least valuable house. The actual uiffeience was 19u,uuu Euios anu as can
be seen in Figuie 2.2, the only paiticipants who appioacheu this actual piice
uiffeience weie the unconscious thinkeis, who inueeu peifoimeu significantly
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
4S
bettei than paiticipants in the iemaining conuitions, /(S,261)= S.41, 9 = .u18, q
2
= .u4
2
.
The peicentage of paiticipants who chose the most valuable house as
theii favoiite weie 2u.2 % foi immeuiate uecision makeis, 26.7 % foi conscious
thinkeis, 2S.u % foi conscious thinkeis with infoimation, anu S4.S % foi
unconscious thinkeis. The two extiemes uiffeieu significantly, J
2
= 4.66, 9 = .uS1,
q
2
= .uS.
H-06'& <I<I Biffeience in estimates between most anu least valuable house. Simple effects
showeu that unconscious thinkeis uiffeieu significantly fiom all othei inuiviuual conuitions.
The iesults of this fiist expeiiment show that we finu unconscious
thought effects also unuei moie ecologically valiu ciicumstances. 0ne majoi
auuition in oui expeiiment was the conscious thought conuition wheie oui
paiticipants coulu ieview all the infoimation. Inteiestingly, peifoimance was no
uiffeient in this conuition than in the conscious thought conuition without the
possibility to ieview the infoimation. It seems theiefoie that even auuing fuithei
tools foi oui conscious thought paiticipants uiu not help them to make bettei
uecisions.
0
100000
200000
Actual imm con con with info unc
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
46
2
Foi paiticipants in the conscious thought with infoimation conuition, the
coiielation between time spent thinking anu estimateu uiffeience between most
valuable anu least valuable house was .29 (p < .u7)
BA$&'-,&4% <
Complexity often uoes not oiiginate fiom a single uecision alone, but also
fiom the fact that we ueciue about multiple things at the same time. In ieal life,
we aie usually not just faceu with one uecision, as paiticipants in oui lab usually
aie, insteau we often face vaiious - impoitant as well as munuane- uecisions.
0ne way to test unconscious thought in a moie ecological setting is theiefoie to
piesent oui paiticipants with simultaneous uecisions.
In Expeiiment 2, paiticipants weie given S simultaneous uecisions to ueal
with. Foi eveiy uecision, theie weie two choice options of which one was
noimatively the best choice. Paiticipants weie latei askeu to choose anu to iate
the choice options. We ian foui thought conuitions. Some paiticipants ueciueu
immeuiately aftei piesentation of the infoimation, some ueciueu aftei 4 minutes
of conscious thought, some ueciueu aftei 4 minutes of uistiaction without a goal
to think about the infoimation they weie piesenteu with, a meie uistiaction
conuition, anu some ueciueu aftei 4 minutes of uistiaction with the goal to think
about the infoimation they hau been piesenteu with, the unconscious thought
conuition. We incluueu a meie uistiaction conuition to tiy to ieplicate eailiei
finuings (Bos et al., 2uu8), showing that a goal is neeueu foi unconscious thought
to engage.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5'
Paiticipants weie unueigiauuate stuuents fiom the Raubouu 0niveisity
Nijmegen. 0f the 87 paiticipants, with an aveiage age of 21 (8; = S.S6), 19 weie
male. They ieceiveu eithei couise cieuits oi money (8 Euios) foi theii
paiticipation.
<"5+%)"3' "#* B%&!+*7%+
0pon coming into the lab, paiticipants weie seateu in fiont of a computei
in sepaiate cubicles. A computei piogiam pioviueu instiuctions. Paiticipants
ieceiveu infoimation in ianuom oiuei about S subjects, 2 choice options pei
subject, anu S aspects pei choice option. The infoimation was about 2 cais, 2
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
47
apaitments, 2 uigital cameias, 2 ioommates anu 2 mobile phones, each uesciibeu
by S pieces of infoimation. All mateiials weie constiucteu in exactly the same
way. The noimatively best option was uesciibeu by S positive anu 2 negative
aspects anu the othei option was uesciibeu by 2 positive anu S negative aspects.
Some paiticipants weie askeu to give theii opinion about the subjects
immeuiately, some weie given 4 minutes to consciously think about a uecision,
some weie meiely uistiacteu foi 4 minutes without the goal to ieach a uecision
anu the last gioup of people weie uistiacteu but weie tolu they woulu latei have
to make a uecision anu engageu in unconscious thought. The uistiaction
consisteu of an n-back task, which occupies conscious attention (}oniues et al.,
1997).
;+9+#*+#5 2"%)"43+
Each choice option was piesenteu inuiviuually anu paiticipants gave theii
opinion of the choice option on a 2u-points scale (ianging fiom 1: not goou to 2u:
veiy goou). They weie then askeu to make a choice between the two choice
options foi each subject.
E&/69%/ #42 J-/36//-+4
Paiticipants' peifoimance on the attituue measuie was assesseu by
subtiacting theii attituue scoie foi the woist choice option fiom theii attituue
scoie foi the best choice option (taken fiom Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6), foi all five
choices. The five uiffeience scoies weie auueu to cieate a total attituue
peifoimance scoie (ianging S to 1uu). Paiticipants' attituues in the uiffeient
conuitions weie compaieu in an analysis of vaiiance. A main effect of conuition
was founu, /(S, 86) = 2.78, 9 = .u46, = .u91. Paiticipants in the unconscious
thought conuition (< = 1S.86, 8; = 1S.82) outpeifoimeu paiticipants in the
conscious thought conuition (< = S.S7, 8; = 11.29), paiticipants in the
immeuiate conuition (< = S.9S, 8; = 7.49) anu paiticipants in the meie
uistiaction conuition (< = 6.88, 8; = 9.u8). None of the conuitions uiffeieu fiom
any of the othei conuitions (all /s < 1) except foi the unconscious thought
conuition, which uiffeieu fiom all othei conuitions (all 9s < .uS).
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
48
A choice peifoimance scoie was calculateu by counting the coiiect
numbei of choices paiticipants maue on the S choices. This scoie iangeu fiom u
to S foi the five choices combineu. The choice peifoimance scoie in the uiffeient
conuitions weie compaieu in an analysis of vaiiance. A main effect of conuition
was founu, /(S,86) = 2.77, 9 = .u47, = .u91. Paiticipants in the unconscious
thought conuition (< = S.S2, 8; = u.7Su) outpeifoimeu paiticipants in the
conscious thought conuition (< = 2.91, 8; = u.9uu), paiticipants in the
immeuiate conuition (< = 2.79, 8; = 1.1S) anu paiticipants in the meie
uistiaction conuition (< = 2.7S, 8; = 1.1S). Again, none of the conuitions uiffeieu
fiom any of the othei conuitions (all /s < 1) except foi the unconscious thought
conuition, which uiffeieu fiom all othei conuitions (all 9s < .uS). 0nly
paiticipants in the conscious thought anu unconscious thought conuition
peifoimeu above chance level, iespectively 5(2S) = 2.2u, 9 = .uS9 anu 5(21) =
6.26, 9 < .uu1.
We showeu that unconscious thought can piocess infoimation iegaiuing
simultaneous uecisions. We ieplicateu the unconscious thought effect
(Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6) anu pievious finuings iegaiuing the goal-uepenuency
of unconscious thought (Bos et al., 2uu8), showing an inciease of peifoimance
aftei unconscious thought compaieu to conscious thought, immeuiate anu meie
uistiaction conuitions. In paiticulai the compaiison to the meie uistiaction
conuition anu immeuiate conuition allows us to inteipiet that unconscious
thought is inueeu an active, goal-uepenuent thought piocess (Bos et al., 2uu8).
G&4&'#9 2-/36//-+4
In line with 0nconscious Thought Theoiy, we founu the unconscious
thought effect foi complex uecisions. In Expeiiment 1, paiticipants maue a veiy
complex uecision wheieby uecision options weie piesenteu pei alteinative
insteau of with ianuomizeu infoimation. In auuition, we incieaseu ecological
valiuity by allowing paiticipants in the conscious thought conuition to think as
long as they wanteu. Even with all infoimation available, conscious thinkeis weie
outpeifoimeu by unconscious thinkeis. In Expeiiment 2, paiticipants weie askeu
to make multiple uecisions simultaneously. The finuings of Expeiiment 2 show
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
49
that unconscious thinkeis uo not meiely iecall an on-line impiession which is
foimeu uuiing the piesentation of the infoimation, as has been suggesteu by
some ieseaicheis (Lassitei et al., 2uu9). Insteau theii final impiession is foimeu
uuiing unconscious thought.
0ui finuings suggest that failuies to ieplicate the unconscious effect
(Ackei, 2uu8; Newell, Wong, Cheung, & Rakow, 2uu9) weie at least in pait causeu
by task simplicity. It is impoitant to iealize that complexity of a uecision pioblem
is not ueteimineu by amount of attiibutes alone. The uecisions in the cuiient
expeiiments weie moie complex than those in pievious expeiiments because of
the numbei of choice alteinatives (Expeiiment 1), the total numbei of attiibutes
(Expeiiment 1 anu 2) anu the numbei of simultaneous uecisions (Expeiiment 2).
The iesults how that with such exceeuingly complex tasks
Bowevei, some questions iegaiuing complexity iemain. Foi instance, at
what amount of infoimation anu level of expeitise uo we finu the tuining point
wheie meticulous conscious thought leaus to bettei iesults than unconscious
thought. It seems eviuent that this tuining point might uiffei fiom peison to
peison, so what peisonal chaiacteiistics play a iole. Such questions waiiant
futuie ieseaich.
An ielateu question is to what extent people woulu engage in unconscious
thought in ieal-life settings, that is, without being instiucteu as they aie in oui
expeiiments. uiven that conscious thought often leaus to pooi uecisions unuei
complex situations, it is veiy well possible that in geneial people automatically
use unconscious thought when faceu with complex uecisions. Inteiestingly, it
may be cultuial piessuie iathei than anything else that uisiupts goou uecision
making, as (westein) cultuie has uictateu the supeiioiity of conscious thought
foi the last couple of uecaues, wheieas moie natuial, unconscious piocessing of
infoimation may leau to the best uecisions.
We concluue that, compaieu to conscious thinkeis anu immeuiate
uecision makeis, unconscious thinkeis weie bettei able to uistinguish between
the best anu the woist uecision alteinative when pioceuuial limitations foi
conscious thinkeis weie alleviateu (Expeiiment 1) as well as when hanuling
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
Su
simultaneous uecisions (Expeiiment 2). Fuitheimoie, the unconscious thought
effect was suppoiteu in a moie ecologically appealing setting compaieu to eailiei
ieseaich.
Chaptei S - Complexity anu unconscious thought
S1
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S2
!"#$%&' K
0nconscious thought uoes not choke unuei piessuie but iises to the challenge
Baseu on: Bos, N.W., Bijksteihuis, A., & van Baaien, R.B. (2u1u). F#!&#'!)&7'
51&7.15 *&+' #&5 !1&-+ 7#*+% 9%+''7%+ 475 %)'+' 5& 51+ !1"33+#.+. Nanusciipt
submitteu foi publication.
=>/%'#3%
vaiious cognitive tasks suffei fiom uecieaseu peifoimance iesulting fiom
piessuie (choking), because conscious attention is uevoteu to piocesses that
opeiate bettei at an unconscious level. We testeu the pieuiction that unconscious
thought (Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien & van Baaien, 2uu6) is impioveu by
piessuie. Paiticipants weie given infoimation about cais they hau to choose
fiom anu weie tolu theii uecision task woulu eithei be easy oi uifficult. Aftei
eithei thinking about the infoimation consciously oi aftei being uistiacteu foi a
peiiou of time, paiticipants weie askeu to iate the cais. In line with eailiei woik
(e.g. Baumeistei, 1984), conscious thinkeis unueipeifoimeu oi "chokeu" when
piessuieu, in that they maue pooi uecisions. Conveisely, unconscious thinkeis'
peifoimance impioveu unuei piessuie.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S4
We aie faceu with many uecisions anu at times the abunuance of available
choice options can make choosing a uaunting task. Iionically, an inciease in the
numbei of choice options can leau to less iathei than moie happiness (Schwaitz,
Waiu, Nonteiosso, Lyubomiisky, White, & Lehman, 2uu2; Iyengai, Wells, &
Schwaitz, 2uu6). It can, foi instance, leau to the expeiience of choice oveiloau
(e.g. Iyengai & Leppei, 2uu6; Shah & Wolfoiu, 2uu7) anu in some people even
anxiety (Schwaitz et al., 2uu2). Knowing one has a complex choice aheau may
leau to expeiiencing a piessuie to peifoim.
Common knowleuge uictates that when we have a complex uecision to
make, we shoulu consciously weight all ielevant infoimation anu think haiu.
Bowevei, ieseaich shows that this may be ill-auviseu, as conscious thought is - at
least unuei some ciicumstances -sensitive to vaiious pitfalls anu biases
(Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6; Wilson & Schoolei, 1991). Thinking too much
consciously about a uecision can uisiupt a highly automatizeu anu efficient
uecision piocess. We make uecisions all the time, veiy often without putting too
much conscious effoit in it, anu these automatizeu uecisions geneially seive us
well (e.g., Touu, 1999; Touu & uigeienzei, 2uuu; Tveisky & Kahneman, 1974).
Intuitive, oi unconscious, uecision making has a pooi ieputation piobably in pait
because ieseaicheis have often focuseu on when it fails iathei than on when it
succeeus. Although heuiistics - which have tiauitionally been associateu with
less conscious thought - may inueeu sometimes bias oui uecisions (Tveisky &
Kahneman, 1974), they aie veiy useful when hanuling laige amounts of
infoimation (Touu, 1999; Touu & uigeienzei, 2uuu). In auuition, ieseaich shows
that people who think less befoie buying a complex piouuct aie moie satisfieu
with it than people who think moie (Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien, & van Baaien,
2uu6).
The main ieason foi why consciously thinking about automatizeu
piocesses can have a negative influence on the outcome is that people may 'choke
unuei piessuie' (e.g., Baumeistei, 1984; Beilock & Caii, 2uuS; Beilock, Kulp, Bolt,
& Caii, 2uu4; Nasteis, 1992). It may cause the builuing blocks of the skill to
function as sepaiate components, in a way similai to befoie the skill was
acquiieu (Bijksteihuis & Aaits, 2u1u; Kimble & Peilmutei, 197u). Foi example,
Chaptei 4 - 0nconscious thought uoes nog choke unuei piessuie but iises to the challenge
SS
asking someone who can type fast with 1u fingeis to concentiate on the letteis
he is wiiting, will slow the piocess (which is why typing teacheis tell theii
stuuents not to look at theii hanus while typing). The efficiency of the
automatizeu skill is then lost because of the high eneigy expenuituie of the
sepaiate components. Wheieas consciously thinking about a complex uecision
can be a stienuous cognitive task leauing to choking, we hypothesize that
unconscious thought behaves uiffeiently unuei piessuie.
0nconscious thought can be uefineu as a uelibeiative cognitive piocess in
the absence of conscious attention (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6). Recently,
vaiious expeiiments have shown that unconscious thought can leau to impioveu
uecisions. In a typical expeiiment, paiticipants weie given infoimation about a
uecision pioblem. Some paiticipants weie askeu to consciously think about the
infoimation, wheieas othei weie given a uistiaction task anu engageu in
unconscious thought. Again, the common finuing is that unconscious thought
leaus to bettei uecisions (Bos, Bijksteihuis, & van Baaien, 2uu8; Bijksteihuis,
2uu4; Bijksteihuis, Bos, Noiugien, & van Baaien, 2uu6; Bijksteihuis, Bos, van
uei Leij, & van Baaien, 2uu9; Bam, van uen Bos, & van Booin, 2uu9; Leiouge,
2uu9).
It is unlikely that unconscious thinkeis will choke unuei piessuie as in
paiticulai conscious attention to automatizeu skills causes people to choke
(Naikman et al., 2uu6) anu unconscious thought is uefineu as thought G)51&75
conscious attention (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien, 2uu6). In contiast, it may well be
that unconscious thought is helpeu by a ceitain uegiee of piessuie. Reseaich has
shown that unconscious thought is goal-uiiecteu. Bos anu colleagues (2uu8, exp.
S) uemonstiateu that when people aie faceu with two uecision pioblems at the
same time (choose between thiee cais anu thiee houses), the goal to focus on
one uecision iathei than the othei inueeu leaus unconscious thinkeis to making
a bettei uecision on the uecision pioblem they weie askeu to think about. uiven
this flexibility of unconscious thought, challenging paiticipants by putting
piessuie on a uecision pioblem may activate a goal to think even haiuei
unconsciously, theieby helping uecision making. In two expeiiments we testeu
the pieuiction that unconscious thought impioves when challengeu. We auueu a
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S6
conscious thought conuition to the fiist expeiiment to investigate whethei
people woulu inueeu choke unuei piessuie.
BA$&'-,&4% )C D&%"+2
0f the 17u unueigiauuate stuuents fiom the Raubouu 0niveisity
Nijmegen with an aveiage age of 2u.4 (8; = 1.87) who paiticipateu, 22 weie
male. They eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi 1u Euios. Paiticipants weie
ianuomly assigneu to a 2 (instiuction: "easy" vs. "uifficult") x 2 (thought moue:
conscious vs. unconscious) between subjects uesign.
<"5+%)"3' "#* B%&!+*7%+
Paiticipants weie seateu in fiont of a computei, in inuiviuual cubicles. A
computei piogiam pioviueu fuithei instiuctions. All paiticipants ieceiveu
infoimation about 1u cais, each uesciibeu by 8 aspects, which weie eithei
positive oi negative. Two cais weie uesciibeu by 8 positive aspects (foi instance:
"Cai 1 is has goou hanuling"), two cais weie uesciibeu by 6 positive aspects, two
cais weie uesciibeu by 4 positive aspects, two cais weie uesciibeu by 2 positive
aspects anu two cais weie uesciibeu by u positive aspects. Each cai was
iuentifiable by both a numbei anu a coloi, which weie both ianuomizeu pei
paiticipant. Paiticipants ieceiveu auuitional instiuctions befoie infoimation
about the cais was piesenteu, eithei telling them it woulu be easy ("we know
fiom pievious ieseaich that the amount of infoimation you will ieceive is
ielatively small"), oi telling them it woulu be uifficult ("we know fiom pievious
ieseaich that the amount of infoimation you will ieceive is ielatively laige").
Aftei piesentation of infoimation about the cais anu the instiuctions about the
complexity of the task, paiticipants weie ianuomly assigneu to eithei a conscious
oi an unconscious thought conuition. Paiticipants in the conscious thought
conuition weie askeu to think about the infoimation they weie given foi foui
minutes. Paiticipants in the unconscious thought conuition weie tolu they woulu
have to choose a cai latei anu weie then given a neutial woiu seaich puzzle as a
uistiactei task foi foui minutes (as in Bos et al., 2uu8). Afteiwaius, all
paiticipants weie given 2u-point attituue scales, asking them theii opinion about
the cais (e.g., ''to what extent uo you think Cai 1 was a goou cai.", ianging fiom 1:
'not at all' to 2u: 'veiy much so'). Paiticipants weie given a Suu-point scale,
Chaptei 4 - 0nconscious thought uoes nog choke unuei piessuie but iises to the challenge
S7
asking them to inuicate how confiuent they weie about theii juugments, to what
extent they felt they hau been able to make a goou uecision anu how complex
they hau founu the task to be (all ianging fiom -2Su: 'not at all' to 2Su: 'veiy
much so').
E&/69%/
Since the best two cais weie of the same quality anu the woist two cais
weie of the same quality, we auueu iatings foi the fiist two cais cieating a single
iating foi the best cais anu we auueu iatings foi the last two cais cieating a
single iating foi the woist cais. We analyzeu the iatings foi the best anu woist
cais using a iepeateu-measuies analysis of vaiiance with confiuence of juugment
as covaiiate (ANC0vA).
We iealize that oui instiuctions (telling paiticipants theii task will be
complex oi easy) coulu have an impact on the confiuence of oui paiticipants. It is
not oui goal to investigate confiuence, but we uo use attituue scales, which may
be susceptible to this. Pieliminaiy analyses ievealeu that unconscious thinkeis
(< = -49.7, 8; = 118.2) felt they hau been bettei able to make goou uecisions
than conscious thinkeis (< = -82.44, 8; = 112.S), /(1,168) = S.417, 9 = .u66,
= .u2u. Theiefoie, confiuence of juugment was enteieu as a covaiiate to make
suie extiemity of the iatings weie uue to paiticipants' actual ability to
uistinguish the quality of the cais insteau of meiely theii confiuence in theii
juugments.
No main effects weie founu foi eithei instiuction oi thought moue (/s <
1). The analysis showeu a significant inteiaction effect foi instiuction anu
thought moue. /(4,16S) = 6.61, 9 = .u1, = .uS9. In the conscious thought
conuition, paiticipants' peifoimance was bettei when tolu the amount of
infoimation was small (< = 1S.17, 8; = 1u.1u) than when tolu the amount of
infoimation was laige (< = 1u.9S, 8; = 11.47), /(2,78) = 2.84, 9 = .u96, = .uSS
(two-taileu). In the unconscious thought conuition on the othei hanu,
paiticipants' peifoimance was slightly bettei when tolu the amount of
infoimation was laige (< = 16.74, 8; = 11.uS) than when tolu the amount of
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
S8
infoimation was small (< = 11.11, 8; = 11.Su), /(2,86) = 2.89, 9 = .u92, = .uSS
(two-taileu).
Foi the conscious thought conuition, we founu a negative coiielation
between peifoimance anu peiception of task complexity (# = S1, % = -.266, 9 = .
uS9)
S
. The effect was uiiven by paiticipants who hau been given the 'uifficult'
instiuction (# = S1, % = -.412, 9 = .u21). Paiticipants in the conscious thought
conuition who hau been given the 'easy' instiuction showeu no significant
negative coiielation between peiception of task complexity anu peifoimance (#
= 2u, % = -.122, 9 = .6u9). The significant coiielation among paiticipants who hau
been given the 'uifficult' instiuction suggests that (some) paiticipants inueeu
chokeu. No coiielations between peiceiveu task complexity anu peifoimance
weie founu foi paiticipants in the unconscious thought conuitions.
BA$&'-,&4% <
In Expeiiment 1, we ieplicateu a bouy of liteiatuie showing choking
effects foi conscious piocesses. Conscious thinkeis peifoimeu pooily unuei
piessuie. 0nconscious thinkeis, on the othei hanu, showeu signs of an
impiovement of peifoimance when challengeu. Noie specifically, the ielatively
pooi peifoimance among unconscious thinkeis who believeu the task to be easy,
coulu inuicate that unconscious thinkeis in this conuition put less effoit into the
task. This finuing suppoits pievious ieseaich showing that unconscious thought
is goal-uiiecteu (Bos et al., 2uu8). Bowevei, given the fact that the uiffeience
between unconscious thinkeis who believeu the task to be easy anu unconscious
thinkeis who believeu the task to be uifficult was only maiginally significant, we
ueemeu it appiopiiate to tiy to ieplicate this effect.
We maue one auuitional change. In Expeiiment 1, instiuctions about the
uifficulty of the task weie given befoie encouing of the uecision pioblem ielateu
infoimation. We know fiom pievious ieseaich that unconscious thought woiks
bettei when the ielevant infoimation is encoueu thoioughly (Lassitei, Linubeig,
uonzalez-vallejo, Belleza, & Phillips, 2uu9; Leiouge, 2uu9; Stiick, Bijksteihuis,
Chaptei 4 - 0nconscious thought uoes nog choke unuei piessuie but iises to the challenge
S9
S
This measuie was auueu latei, aftei uata collection hau alieauy staiteu, anu
theiefoie has a smallei n than the full uesign.
Bos, Sjoeiusma, van Baaien, & Noiugien, 2uu9). Because oui instiuction coulu
have hau an effect on the encouing of infoimation (telling paiticipants theii task
woulu be uifficult might make them pay moie attention), in Expeiiment 2 we
gave oui paiticipants similai instiuctions "?5+% encouing of the infoimation,
eithei telling them "we know fiom pievious ieseaich that the amount of
infoimation you ieceiveu is ielatively small", oi telling them "we know fiom
pievious ieseaich that the amount of infoimation you ieceiveu is ielatively
laige". We changeu the timing in paiticulai to show that the instiuction uoes not
affect the encouing so much as that it effects the thought moue. Because we
ieplicateu the well-uocumenteu choking effect foi conscious thought in
Expeiiment 1, we uiu not incluue a conscious thought conuition in Expeiiment 2.
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5'
0f the 78 unueigiauuate stuuents fiom the Raubouu 0niveisity Nijmegen
with an aveiage age of 2u.6 (8; = 1.8S) who paiticipateu, 17 weie male. They
eithei ieceiveu couise cieuits oi 1u Euios. Paiticipants weie ianuomly assigneu
to one of two instiuction-conuitions (instiuction: "easy" vs. "uifficult").
B%&!+*7%+
Apait fiom the timing of the "uifficult" veisus "easy" instiuction anu the
omission of the conscious thought conuition, we useu the exact same paiauigm
as in Expeiiment 1.
E&/69%/
Again, we analyzeu the iatings foi the best anu woist cais using a
iepeateu-measuies analysis of vaiiance with confiuence of juugment as covaiiate
(ANC0vA).
The analysis showeu a significant effect foi instiuction, /(2,7S) = 6.68, 9
= .u12, = .u82. As in Expeiiment 1, when tolu the task was uifficult (< = 18.97,
8; = 11.6S), paiticipants' peifoimance was bettei than when tolu the task was
easy (< = 1S.6S, 8; = 12.S1).
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
6u
J-/36//-+4
0ui iesults show that unconscious thought uoes not choke unuei
piessuie when having to make a uecision about laige amounts of infoimation. In
fact, when a situation calls foi it, foi instance when we know we have to piocess
a laige amount of infoimation, unconscious thought iises to the challenge. This
suppoits eailiei ieseaich showing that unconscious thought is a flexible, goal-
uiiecteu piocess (Bos et al., 2uu8).
Conveisely, paiticipants in the conscious thought conuition 'chokeu unuei
piessuie'. It seems as if incieaseu attention to the task backfiieu, uisiupting what
shoulu have been a fluent anu automatic piocess (Beilock & Caii, 2uu1; Kimble &
Peilmutei, 197u). This hypothesis is suppoiteu by the finuing that conscious
thinkeis felt they weie unable to make a goou uecision anu the fact that we founu
a negative coiielation between peiceiveu task complexity anu peifoimance foi
conscious thinkeis who hau been tolu theii task woulu be uifficult. Inteiestingly,
when conscious thinkeis weie tolu the amount of infoimation was easy to
piocess, they peifoimeu bettei than when tolu the amount of infoimation was
uifficult to piocess.
Combineu, oui iesults uemonstiate an inteiesting moueiatoi that can be
of piactical use. Conscious thought is not only a goou stiategy when uecisions aie
objectively easiei to make (Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6), but also when people think
the uecision is easy to make. When a uecision is uifficult - eithei objectively oi
subjectively - unconscious thought is the most useful stiategy.
Chaptei 4 - 0nconscious thought uoes nog choke unuei piessuie but iises to the challenge
61
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
62
!"#$%&' L
Foou foi thought.
Stiategically applying unconscious thought
Baseu on: Bos, N.W., Bijksteihuis, A., & van Baaien, R.B. (2u1u). /&&* ?&% 51&7.15K
I%7'5 6&7% 7#!&#'!)&7' G1+# +#+%.6 )' 3&G. Nanusciipt submitteu foi publication.
Common knowleuge uictates that thoiough conscious thought leaus to
goou anu satisfactoiy uecisions. Bowevei, conscious thought iequiies glucose,
which fuinishes eneigy foi the biain. ulucose is sometimes scaice though anu
inueeu, conscious thought ueteiioiates when eneigy is low (Bonohoe & Benton,
199u). Bow aie we to make goou uecisions when eneigy levels aie low.
An alteinative to conscious thought is unconscious thought. 0nconscious
thought is uefineu as thought piocesses which opeiate in the absence of
conscious attention uiiecteu at the pioblem at hanu (Bijksteihuis & Noiugien,
2uu6) anu is ieminiscent of lay-people's iuea of 'sleeping-on-something'. Foi
instance, when you have to ueciue between jobs, you may put the pioblem asiue
foi a while aftei having taken in the necessaiy infoimation. Aftei a peiiou of
unconscious thought, you may expeiience that one of the options 'just feels
bettei' than the otheis. Iionically, ieseaich shows that especially complex
uecisions - tiauitionally iegaiueu as the uomain wheie conscious uelibeiation
excels - benefit fiom peiious of unconscious thought, up to the point wheie
unconscious thought can leau to bettei uecisions than conscious thought (Bos,
Bijksteihuis, & van Baaien, 2uu8; Bijksteihuis, 2uu4; Bijksteihuis, Bos,
Noiugien, & van Baaien, 2uu6).
Since conscious thought ueteiioiates when eneigy is low, wheieas
unconscious thought is piesumably not affecteu by low eneigy because it uoes
not iely on eneigy consuming conscious piocesses, woulu we uo well to tiust
unconscious piocesses when we aie low on eneigy.
What happens to unconscious thought when iesouices aie high is less
cleai. 0nconscious thinkeis may peifoim well unuei such conuitions. Bowevei,
some stuuies have suggesteu that changing eneigy levels can uisiupt the natuial
flow of unconscious piocesses (e.g., Bolmes, Bayfoiu, uonzalez, & Weyueit,
198S). This woulu leau to the pieuiction that an inciease in eneigy may be
haimful foi unconscious thought.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
64
D&%"+2
B"%5)!)9"#5' "#* ;+').#
0ne hunuieu anu fifty seven Butch unueigiauuate stuuents weie
ianuomly assigneu to the cells of a 2 (Noue of Thought: Conscious veisus
0nconscious) x 2 (Eneigy-level: Low veisus Bigh) between-paiticipants uesign.
They ieceiveu couise cieuits oi 7 Euios in ietuin.
B%&!+*7%+ "#* <"5+%)"3'
Paiticipants weie askeu not to eat oi uiink anything S houis piioi to coming to
the lab. Self-iepoits inuicateu that paiticipants hau inueeu obeyeu this
instiuction. 0pon enteiing the lab, paiticipants in the high eneigy conuition weie
given a uiink containing sugai (2Su ml of 7-up, containing 28 giams of sugai).
Paiticipants in the low eneigy conuition weie given a uiink without sugai (2Su
ml of 7-up Fiee, sweeteneu with aspaitame). The uiinks weie both pie-testeu
anu testeu in oui expeiiment anu no uiffeiences in taste (sweetness) oi liking of
the uiinks weie iepoiteu (all /s<1).
It takes between 12-1S minutes foi sugai in a liquiu to have an effect on
the biain (Benton, 199u). Paiticipants weie piesenteu with a movie about sea life
foi 9 minutes befoie they ieau infoimation about foui hypothetical choice
options, foi instance foui cais
4
(e.g., Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6). The timing was set
up so that any effect of glucose woulu stait iight aftei ieauing of the infoimation.
Each cai was uesciibeu by twelve attiibutes. The attiibutes weie eithei positive
oi negative (e.g., goou oi bau mileage). 0ne cai was chaiacteiizeu by 7S%
positive attiibutes, two by Su% positive attiibutes, anu one by 2S% positive
attiibutes. The attiibutes weie piesenteu one by one in ianuom oiuei on a
computei scieen. Each attiibute was piesenteu foi 4 seconus. Aftei ieauing the
infoimation about the foui cais, paiticipants weie eithei assigneu to a conscious
thought conuition oi to an unconscious thought conuition. So paiticipants weie
eithei askeu to think about the infoimation caiefully foi foui minutes oi weie
Chaptei S - Foou foi thought. Stiategically applying unconscious thought
6S
4
Some paiticipants ieau infoimation about foui hypothetical cais (n=S4); some
about foui hypothetical jobs (n=1u2). (see 0nline suppoiting mateiials of
Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6, appenuix 1 foi insight in the constiuction of the
mateiials). Since theie was no effect of mateiials, /(4,1S6) = 2.uu, 9 = .1S9, these
conuitions weie collapseu.
uistiacteu foi foui minutes (they watcheu anothei movie about sea life) anu
weie tolu that they woulu be askeu theii opinion of the cais latei.
Subsequently, paiticipants gave theii attituue towaius each of the foui
inuiviuual choice options in ianuom oiuei by clicking a scoie between 1 ("veiy
negative") to 2u ("veiy positive").
A subset of the paiticipants ieceiveu a moou questionnaiie (Watson, Claik,
& Tellegen, 1988). Fuithei analyses ievealeu no effect of the uiinks on
expeiienceu moou (/<1). Noou was measuieu aftei all othei uepenuent
vaiiables.
Both paiticipants in the unconscious thought glucose anu unconscious
thought non-glucose conuition weie askeu questions about the movie clip, to
assess whethei they hau paiu attention. Both these conuitions peifoimeu equally
well (/<1), scoiing an aveiage of 1.SS (8;=1.SS) out of 4 in-uepth questions
about the movie.
E&/69%/ M J-/36//-+4
When shoulu we tiust conscious uelibeiation to pioviue the best iesults
anu when can we tiust unconscious piocesses. We calculateu a uiffeience scoie
by subtiacting paiticipants' iating of the woist cai fiom paiticipants' iating of
the best cai (Bos et al., 2uu8; Bijksteihuis et al., 2uu6). A highei scoie on the
attituue uiffeience measuie inuicates a gieatei ability to uiffeientiate between
choice options. As uepicteu in Figuie S.1, conscious uelibeiation impioves when
eneigy level is high, /(1, 82) = 4.uS, 9 < .uS, L
2
= .uS. Bowevei, the ieveise is tiue
foi unconscious thought /(1, 74) = S.9u, 9 < .uS, L
2
= .uS. The two-way inteiaction
is significant, /(1,1S6) = 1u.19, 9 < .u1, E
2
= .u7. In sum, peifoimance of
conscious thought impioves with moie eneigy, wheieas peifoimance of
unconscious thought actually ueclines aftei an inciease in eneigy.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
66
H-06'& LI)I Peifoimance aftei conscious thought anu unconscious thought foi paiticipants in
Sugai (high eneigy) anu No sugai (low eneigy) conuitions.
We founu that when we have enough eneigy, conscious uelibeiation
enables us to make goou uecisions. Bowevei, even when we aie not able oi
willing to consume laige amounts of glucose we neeu not woiiy. When we aie
low on eneigy we shoulu employ anothei uecision stiategy: We shoulu tiust oui
unconscious.
!
"
#
$
%
&
'()*+ ,- '()*+
/-0123-(1
402-0123-(1
Chaptei S - Foou foi thought. Stiategically applying unconscious thought
67
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
68
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82
J6%3" N6,,#'8
Wat is ue beste maniei om een beslissing te nemen. Bet gebiuikelijke
antwooiu uaaiop is: Zoig uat je alle nouige infoimatie hebt en uenk veivolgens
goeu na: Weeg alle voois en tegens af en kom op uie maniei tot een gewogen
beslissing. Bet komt niet zeluen vooi uat op ueze maniei een beslissing nemen
eig moeilijk blijkt te zijn. Simpele beslissingen, zoals een beetje meei zout of
pepei in ue pasta, zijn makkelijk gemaakt. Complexe beslissingen uaaientegen
kosten vaak veel tiju en moeite. Ei zijn veischillenue manieien van een beslissing
nemen. Sommige mensen gaan uiiect op hun gevoel af en uenken niet veiuei na.
Anueien piobeien zo goeu mogelijk bewust na te uenken en weei anueien
piobeien hun onbewuste een ueel van het weik te laten uoen. Naai wat is nou ue
beste maniei.
0nueizoek van ue afgelopen jaien heeft aangetoonu uat, omuat ons
bewustzijn een bepeikte capaciteit heeft (piobeei maai eens meei uan 1u
getallen in geuachten te houuen), we bij complexe beslissingen betei op ons
onbewuste kunnen veitiouwen. 0ns onbewuste heeft een veel gioteie capaciteit
uan ons bewuste, uus logischeiwijs kan het betei omgaan met giote
hoeveelheuen infoimatie. Bat leiut tot een conclusie uie een beetje veiwaiienu
lijkt: Als een beslissing complexei is moeten we ei uus eigenlijk ,)#*+% bewust
ovei nauenken. Boewel uie conclusie misschien vieemu klinkt, uoen we uit al
heel lang. Benk maai aan wat je ouueis je aaniaauuen als je een ingewikkelue
beslissing moest nemen: Slaap ei een nachtje ovei. 0f als je even niet op ue naam
van ue banu kan komen van het lieuje uat je hooit. Ban zeg je tegen jezelf: Ik kom
ei zo wel op. }e zegt uan uus tegen jezelf: Ik stop met eiovei na te uenken en uan
komt het antwooiu vanzelf. Bet onueizoek uat in uit pioefschiift beschieven is
volgt uezelfue geuachtelijn. Bet pioces uat actief is als we bijvooibeelu een
beslissingspiobleem even wegleggen woiut 'onbewust nauenken' genoemu.
0nbewust nauenken veiwijst naai een actief uenkpioces uat plaatsvinut teiwijl
onze bewuste aanuacht op iets anueis uan het vooihanuen zijnue piobleem
geiicht is.
In een seiie van expeiimenten boiuuien we vooit op onueizoek uat laat
zien uat we ovei beslissingen betei onbewust kunnen nauenken. In een paai
8S
expeiimenten laten we zien uat onbewust nauenken niet weikt als we geen uoel
hebben om infoimatie te veiweiken. Bieimee tonen we aan uat onbewust
nauenken een actief pioces is en niet alleen maai een 'fiisse kijk' op het
vooihanuen zijnue piobleem. Twee anueie expeiimenten tonen aan uat we het
beste onbewust kunnen nauenken als een beslissing eig complex is. In ueze
expeiimenten kiijgen ue ueelnemeis een giote hoeveelheiu infoimatie te
veiweiken, ovei bijvooibeelu 6 huizen. Zelfs als ue ueelnemeis alle infoimatie
konuen nalezen en alle tiju kiegen om een beslissing te nemen piesteeiuen ze
minuei goeu uan ueelnemeis uie een beslissing maakten nauat hun bewuste
aanuacht vooi een tijuje weiu afgeleiu. Weei anueie expeiimenten laten zien uat
onbewust nauenken goeu kan piesteien onuei uiuk. Als we onze ueelnemeis
veitellen uat ze een giote hoeveelheiu infoimatie te veiweiken kiijgen zou het
kunnen uat ze 'uichtslaan' en hun piestaties gaan lijuen onuei ue uiuk. Bet blijkt
inueiuaau uat uat het geval is als onze ueelnemeis bewust nauenken. Als onze
ueelnemeis onbewust nauenken blijkt ue uiuk ze minuei te ueien; ze gaan zelfs
betei piesteien.
ulucose is ue vooinaamste eneigiebion in ons biein. In onze laatste
onueizoekslijn laten we zien uat ueelnemeis betei piesteien op een
beslissingstaak als ze vooi ze ovei ue beslissing na moeten uenken fiisuiank met
suikei hebben gekiegen. Be stijging in bloeusuikeispiegel lijkt ons biein te
helpen als we bewust uenken. Betekent uit uan uat we ons ionu moeten eten aan
suikei om goeie beslissingen te kunnen nemen. uelukkig niet: 0nze laatste
onueizoekslijn toont aan uat onbewust nauenken piima weikt als we ue
bloeusuikeispiegel niet veihogen.
Wat is ue beste maniei om een beslissing te nemen. 0ns onueizoek laat
zien uat als een beslissing complex is en als we weinig eneigie hebben bewust
nauenken misschien niet ue beste maniei is om beslissingen te nemen. We
kunnen het beste alle ielevante infoimatie in ons opnemen en veivolgens ons
onbewuste het weik laten uoen.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
84
=354+@9&20&,&4%/
Fiist of all, my thanks go out to Ap anu Rick, my supeivisoi anu seconu
auvisoi. Youi insights in setting up ieseaich anu assistance anu vision in wiiting
papeis have been inuispensable. Ap, you have given me the fieeuom anu the tiust
to uo my own thing, foi which I'm veiy giateful. The stait of my caieei has been
woiking as youi assistant but you have always tieateu me as an inuepenuent
ieseaichei. I know it is uncommon anu I tiuly appieciate it. Rick, youi humoi anu
evei uecent jokes have biighteneu up many meetings. Togethei you aie a gieat
team with the powei anu some othei featuies of a meuium sizeu tank. But
seiiously, not eveiy giau stuuent can say that theii auvisois aie also a fiienu, but
I'm happy to be one of the few.
I woulu like to thank the iest of the 0nconscious Lab foi theii input in my
ieseaich, in paiticulai in the beginning of my pioject. In oiuei of appeaiance: Ap,
Rick, Kaiin, Natthijs, Anuiies, Aukje, Rainei, Simone, Baibaia, Nauelijn anu Tom.
A waim thank you to some close colleagues that have maue time as a giau
stuuent veiy pleasant anu will hopefully continue theii fiienuship aftei my
giauuation: Aukje Auknoxious, Tila Tekillaah, Annemaiie What-a-cuise, Lieke
Killeicuis (my ueiby giils!), uijs, Bans, Lauia, Natthijs B, Natthijs v L anu 0livei.
The time we have spent at confeiences, uiiving thiough the 0S, uancing in the
iain in Caiuiff anu goou times at so many moie othei times anu places have maue
woiking these foui yeais moie than a job anu almost a hobby.
Baniel, Au, Rob, }ohan, Naitijn, togethei with Naiijke anu Naijo you aie
pait of the glue that keeps a gieat uepaitment togethei anu functioning. Ronny,
my favoiite lab managei, thank you foi youi insights that shine in theii simplicity
anu usefulness. Eveiy comment you have evei maue about the lab has pioveu
useful one way oi anothei. Foi my othei colleagues: If I have left you out, that
only means I have not spent much time with you, it says nothing as to youi
chaiactei (anu hopefully not to mine). As a gieat philosophei once saiu: "I uon't
know half of you half as well as I shoulu like; anu I like less than half of you half
as well as you ueseive".
A quick thank you to people who have shaieu goou times with me in the
past foui yeais anu have helpeu me focus on woik when it was most necessaiy:
Nia, Alysia, Anastasia, Angela, Anneke, Beau, Caiian, Chailene, Elena, Ellen, Eva,
Femke, Flooi, }amena, Kim, Lauia, Lisanne, Liza, Lotte, Louise, Naiente, Naiielle,
Nilou, Niki, Raffaela, Reinekke, Renee, Sanne, Sanne, Shaiaya, Suzanne, Tamai,
Taia anu veia.
No gieat woik can be uone without a goou basis. I woulu like to thank my
two families: Noeuei, thank you foi a goou upbiinging anu iaising two boys in a
way no one else coulu have. Willem, thank you foi being a gieat guy anu a
wonueiful piesence in the life of my mothei. Petei, you'ie the smait one en zo lief
ook nog, ik ben blij uat je al m'n hele leven bij me bent.
Ny othei family consists of fiienus that have seen me giow up, some fiom
1u yeais of age: }eioen, lekkeie vetklep, je bent ue enige uoktei uoctoi uie ik
veitiouw en goeu in hait (links van het miuuen in ue boistkas) en nieien
(onueiaan ue iug); Bas, het iijuen van Route 66 begint met een ioze papieitje
met twee wielen eiop! Esthei, je bent een schatje! Keep up the goou woik en
veigeet niet: Less is moie; Anouk, ue liefste viouw van ue weielu en wijue
omstieken; Sanuei je bent n van mijn muzikale heluen en altiju als je ei bent
een waim peisoon; }eioen, mijn schoolvooibeelu van ue hoogvliegei; Alexis, ue
enige uiiekse gou met veistanu van ue huizenmaikt; Annemaiie, ue viouw uie
me heeft leien piogiammeien, je bent too cool foi school; Pietei, je bent een
topgozei met een hait van puui gouu; Natthijs je bent n van mijn favoiiete
mensen op ueez' aaiu en ue ieuen uat het wooiu 'ottei' in een pioefschiift ovei
besliskunue staat. I love you all.
I have puiposefully left out one peison so fai, to make foi a moie uiamatic
closing. The man who suppoits me in eveiything I uo, but tells me I'm wiong
when I'm wiong anu iight when I'm iight, my 'go to' guy anu piobably the
smaitest peison I know. The man with moie featuies than an iPou, a phone, anu
an inteinet communication uevice combineu: Ron, thank you foi youi help anu
insights, anu foi being the best fiienu anyone coulu wish foi. I love you man.
The benefits of unconscious thought in uecision making
86
A woiu of auvise: Nevei ieieau acknowleugements aftei you've wiitten
them. At the closing of a piece of woik like this I feel the uige to say moie, wiite
moie, uo moie. But I have given this alieauy way too much conscious thought.
Now, let's uull oui senses with beei anu wine anu let oui unconscious uo the iest
of the woik.
Acknowleugements
87