On unconscious and conscious thought and the accuracy of implicit and explicit judgments

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Authors:

Ham,J.R.C.; van den Bos,K.

Source:

Social Cognition , Volume 29, p.648-667 (2011)

Abstract:

Research suggesting merits of deliberation under distraction mainly have assessed explicit judgments. However, unconscious thought theory argues that also under conditions of conscious thinking (some) unconscious thinking takes place albeit at implicit cognitive levels. Therefore, we performed two studies in which we assessed the effects of unconscious and conscious thinking on explicit and implicit judgments. In both experiments, participants read a complex situation description. Next, they made judgments immediately, could consciously think about their judgments for a couple of minutes, or were distracted for a couple of minutes and then made their judgments. Finally, we assessed implicit judgment accuracy using an implicit association test, and explicit judgment accuracy using rating scales. Replicating earlier research, results suggest that unconscious thinking leads to the best explicit assessments. However, as expected, both unconscious thinking and conscious thinking lead to better implicit assessments than participants in immediate judgment conditions. Importantly, only for unconscious thinking these implicit assessments were in line with explicit assessments. Implications are discussed.