Bottoms Up! Affects of Intoxication on the Unconscious Thought Process

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Dijksterhuis (2004) demonstrates that individuals who are presented complex decision criteria (varied information) arrived at a better choice when distracted from thinking for three minutes following presentation of information versus given three minutes to consciously consider the information, or asked to make an immediate decision. Our study’s participants had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels between 0.00 and 0.08% and were presented with varying amounts of positive and negative characteristics about four potential roommates. Participants either thought about these characteristics consciously for three minutes; were distracted by an unrelated math task for three minutes (unconscious information process); or made an immediate decision about their attitude toward the roommates. The experiment is investigating the effects of varying BAC levels in immediate decision, conscious, and unconscious information processes. We predicted if unconscious thinking is distinct from conscious thinking, that as BAC increased, participants would make more accurate judgments using unconscious thought processes about the roommates; in comparison to conscious information processing condition. We predicted there would be no effect on the immediate decision making. If true, this experiment can help the medical community develop communication methods for patients making important medical decisions, while under the influence of intoxicating drugs.


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