In 2006 the Dutch psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis and Nordgren studied a group of participants ability to make complex decisions versus simple decisions. The participants were told they had 4 different kinds of cars to choose from and were given a list of features for each car. In order to make the decisions simpler more complex the number of features to describe the cars were varied. There was either a list of 4 features describing one car making the simple decision or 12 features making the complex decision. The information about the 4 cars was then given to the participants. The list of attributes of the cars were a mixture of positive and negative, with each car having a varied number of positive/ negative features. The participants were then split into two groups...
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...not change their mind but also corresponded more with expert ratings. This indicates that when participants were asked to think consciously about their choices they changed their decisions. These decisions were against expert opinions arguing that these decisions could not be the “best choice”
Looking back on the findings, there is strong evidence to suggest that decision making does not only occur unconsciously, but that people who make decisions unconsciously can make better decisions than those who make decisions consciously. This could possibly be because conscious processing focuses on less important information surrounding the decision than the decision itself causing over- thinking. This could be the reason why in all the experiments mentioned above with the exception of Lassiter et al’s (in Press) experiment, shows that unconscious decision making does occur.
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