Methodological pitfalls of the Unconscious Thought paradigm
According to Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT: Dijksterhuis \& Nordgren, 2006), complex decisions are best made after a period of distraction assumed to elicit ``unconscious thought''. Over three studies, respectively offering a conceptual, an identical and a methodologically improved replication of Dijksterhuis et al.\ (2006), we reassessed UTT's predictions and dissected the decision task used to demonstrate these predictions. We failed to find any evidence for the benefits of unconscious decision-making. By contrast, we found some evidence that conscious deliberation can lead to better decisions. Further, we identified methodological weaknesses in the UTT decision task: (a) attributes weighting was neglected although attributes were seen as different in importance; (b) the material was not properly counterbalanced; and (c) there was some confusion in the experimental instructions. We propose methodological improvements that address these concerns.
Volume (Year): 4 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
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