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The primacy of conscious decision making

Shanks, DR; Newell, BR; (2014) The primacy of conscious decision making. Behavioral And Brain Sciences , 37 (1) 45 - 53. 10.1017/S0140525X13001507. Green open access

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Abstract

The target article sought to question the common belief that our decisions are often biased by unconscious influences. While many commentators offer additional support for this perspective, others question our theoretical assumptions, empirical evaluations, and methodological criteria. We rebut in particular the starting assumption that all decision making is unconscious, and that the onus should be on researchers to prove conscious influences. Further evidence is evaluated in relation to the core topics we reviewed (multiple cue judgment, deliberation without attention, and decision making under uncertainty), as well as priming effects. We reiterate a key conclusion from the target article, namely that it now seems to be generally accepted that awareness should be operationally defined as reportable knowledge, and that such knowledge can only be evaluated by careful and thorough probing. We call for future research to pay heed to the different ways in which awareness can intervene in decision making (as identified in our lens model analysis) and to employ suitable methodology in the assessment of awareness, including the requirements that awareness assessment must be reliable, relevant, immediate, an sensitive.

Type: Article
Title: The primacy of conscious decision making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13001507
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X13001507
Language: English
Additional information: © Cambridge University Press 2014 The article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form, subsequent to peer review and/or editorial input by Cambridge University Press, in Behavioral and Brain Sciences published by Cambridge University Press
Keywords: decision making, conscious, unconscious, judgment, awareness, subliminal perception
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1426884
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