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Unconscious intuition or conscious analysis? Critical questions for the Deliberation-Without-Attention paradigm

Aczel, Balazs ; Lukacs, Bence ; Komlos, Judit ; Aitken, Michael

Judgment and Decision Making, Jun 2011, Vol.6(4), p.351 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Unconscious intuition or conscious analysis? Critical questions for the Deliberation-Without-Attention paradigm
  • Author/Creator: Aczel, Balazs ; Lukacs, Bence ; Komlos, Judit ; Aitken, Michael
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Psychology
  • Is Part Of: Judgment and Decision Making, Jun 2011, Vol.6(4), p.351
  • Description: The Deliberation without Attention (DWA) effect refers to apparent improvements in decision-making following a period of distraction. It has been presented as evidence for beneficial unconscious cognitive processes. We identify two major concerns with this claim: first, as these demonstrations typically involve subjective preferences, the effects of distraction cannot be objectively assessed as beneficial; second, there is no direct evidence that the DWA manipulation promotes unconscious decision processes. We describe two tasks based on the DWA paradigm in which we found no evidence that the distraction manipulation led to decision processes that are subjectively unconscious, nor that it reduced the influence of presentation order upon performance. Crucially, we found that a lack of awareness of decision process was associated with poorer performance, both in terms of subjective preference measures used in traditional DWA paradigm and in an equivalent task where performance can be objectively assessed. Therefore, we argue that reliance on conscious memory itself can explain the data. Thus the DWA paradigm is not an adequate method of assessing beneficial unconscious thought.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 19302975