Thesis

Effects of a period of distraction on the improvement of immediate judgments

Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT), highly criticized for its lack of theoretical and methodological soundness, predicts that a period of distraction improves immediate judgments more than a period of conscious thought. The present study tested UTT making a few methodological improvements to the traditional paradigm. In Phase 1, after participants were presented with the attributes from a first set of four hypothetical cars, they immediately rated these four cars. In Phase 2 (traditional paradigm), after the same participants were presented with the attributes from a second set of four hypothetical cars, they rated these four cars either immediately, after conscious deliberation, or after a period of distraction. UTT' s predictions that a period of distraction would improve immediate judgments and that this improvement would be greater than any improvement made after a period of conscious thought were not supported by the results of the present study. In fact, only conscious thought was found to improve immediate judgments, and this improvement was greater than any improvement made after a period of distraction. The findings of the present study are problematic for UTT. Keywords: decision making, conscious thought, unconscious thought, online judgment, deliberation

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