Printer Friendly

Smart shoppers use unconscious tactics.

Consumers make better decisions about major purchases if they heed the power of their unconscious minds, say psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis of the University of Amsterdam and his colleagues.

Conscious thinking enables a person to follow precise rules using small amounts of information, the researchers say. Unconscious thinking, or deliberation without directing one's attention to the choice at hand, permits detection of critical patterns in a mass of information, Dijksterhuis' team asserts in the Feb. 17 Science.

In one experiment, 80 college students read information about four made-up cars. Each car was described by 4 or 12 attributes, including whether it handled well and got good gas mileage. One ear had mainly positive attributes, one had mainly negative ones, and two had even numbers of both.

When grappling with 12 attributes per automobile, students who were given 4 minutes to think about the cars and make a choice frequently didn't choose the best vehicle and immediately afterward said they were dissatisfied with the decision. Students who first spent 4 minutes completing the distracting task of solving anagrams usually chose the best cars and felt satisfied with the decision.

When volunteers had to consider only four attributes for each car, however conscious thinking proved slightly superior to unconscious deliberation.

Another experiment focused on 27 people making major purchases at a furniture store and 27 others buying inexpensive items at a department store. Those who reported having thought only a little about specific furniture to buy before shopping were much happier with their choices a few weeks later than were those who said that they had thought a lot about what to buy before shopping. The reverse characterized the department store customers.--B.B.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:BEHAVIOR
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 25, 2006
Previous Article:Tiny planet orbits faraway star.
Next Article:Saw palmetto flunks prostate exam.

Related Articles
Rethinking the mind; cognitive science faces a philosophical challenge.
The Mental Butler Did It.
Hypnotic trance in Heart-Centered therapies.
Are we just really smart robots? Two books on the mind put the human back into human beings.
Security news: Spy Sweeper 4.5.
The bias finders: a test of unconscious attitudes polarizes psychologists.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters