New Insights on the Benefits of Unconscious Thought

Ap Dijksterhuis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Common knowledge dictates that conscious deliberation is the best strategy for making choices. We show that choosers can also engage in unconscious thought: After people have gathered information about various choice alternatives, they leave the development of a preference for one of the alternatives to the unconscious. In lay terms, people can “sleep on it”. Our research shows that for complex decisions, unconscious thought leads to better choices than conscious thought. Moreover, we show that unconscious thought is an active, goal-directed process, and we demonstrate that especially people with experience in a certain domain benefit from unconscious thought.
[ to cite ]:
Ap Dijksterhuis (2007) ,"New Insights on the Benefits of Unconscious Thought", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 692-696.