A process-dissociation examination of the cognitive processes underlying unconscious thought

Rodica Ioana Damian, Jeffrey Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conscious and unconscious thought have been previously found to differentially impact decision-making quality. However, little research has directly measured the processes underlying these modes of thinking. We propose that both thinking modes are characterized by rule-based and intuitive processing. In two experiments, we used the Process Dissociation Procedure to independently measure these cognitive processes. We tested three competing hypotheses: (a) conscious thinking evokes both increased rule-based and decreased intuitive processing compared to unconscious thinking; (b) conscious and unconscious thinking evoke similar levels of intuitive processing but conscious thinking enhances rule-based processing; and (c) conscious and unconscious thinking evoke similar levels of rule-based processing but unconscious thinking enhances intuitive processing. Experiment 1 used base-rate and law-of-large-numbers decision-making problems, whereas Experiment 2 used decision-making problems similar to the "apartment" problem that is often used in unconscious thought studies. In both experiments we found support for hypothesis (b).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • Intuitive processing
  • Process dissociation
  • Rule-based processing
  • Unconscious thought

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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