Conscious and unconscious thought preceding complex decisions: The influence of taking notes and intelligence.


For many years, research has been done to find the best way to make decisions. Dijksterhuis and Nordgren (2006) formulated the Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT), stating that when making complex decisions it is better not to think consciously, but to direct your attention elsewhere, letting the unconscious make the decision. However, a wealth of research has found evidence against the predictions of UTT. Thorsteinson and Withrow (2009) found that participants, who were allowed to take notes during the information intake stage, made better decisions thinking consciously. The current study is a replication of Thorsteinson and Withrow (2009), being a four conditions design (immediate decision, unconscious thought, conscious thought or conscious thought with notes) with the addition of intelligence as a variable. The conclusion of Thorsteinson and Withrow (2009) is supported: The best complex decisions are made when participants take notes and use them while thinking consciously. Moreover, it is shown that intelligence is positively correlated with better decisions.

Back to Table of Contents