Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorManigault, Andrew Wilhelm
dc.contributor.authorHandley, Ian Michael
dc.contributor.authorWhillock, Summer Rain
dc.identifier.citationManigault, Andrew Wilhelm, Ian Michael Handley, and Summer Rain Whillock. Assessment of Unconscious Decision Aids Applied to Complex Patient-Centered Medical Decisions. Journal of Medical Internet Research. February 2015. Page e37.en_US
dc.description.abstract"Background: To improve patient health, recent research urges for medical decision aids that are designed to enhance the effectiveness of specific medically related decisions. Many such decisions involve complex information, and decision aids that independently use deliberative (analytical and slower) or intuitive (more affective and automatic) cognitive processes for such decisions result in suboptimal decisions. Unconscious thought can arguably use both intuitive and deliberative (slow and analytic) processes, and this combination may further benefit complex patient (or practitioner) decisions as medical decision aids. Indeed, mounting research demonstrates that individuals render better decisions generally if they are distracted from thinking consciously about complex information after it is presented (but can think unconsciously), relative to thinking about that information consciously or not at all. Objective: The current research tested whether the benefits of unconscious thought processes can be replicated using an Internet platform for a patient medical decision involving complex information. This research also explored the possibility that judgments reported after a period of unconscious thought are actually the result of a short period of conscious deliberation occurring during the decision report phase. Methods: A total of 173 participants in a Web-based experiment received information about four medical treatments, the best (worst) associated with mostly positive (negative) side-effects/attributes and the others with equal positive-negative ratios. Next, participants were either distracted for 3 minutes (unconscious thought), instructed to think about the information for 3 minutes (conscious thought), or moved directly to the decision task (immediate decision). Finally, participants reported their choice of, and attitudes toward, the treatments while experiencing high, low, or no cognitive load, which varied their ability to think consciously while reporting judgments. Cognitive load was manipulated by having participants memorize semi-random (high), line structured (low), or no dot patterns and recall these intermittently with their decision reports. Overall then, participants were randomly assigned to the conditions of a 3 (thought condition) by 3 (cognitive-load level) between-subjects design. Results: A logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of participants choosing the best treatment were 2.25 times higher in the unconscious-thought condition compared to the immediate-decision condition (b=.81, Wald=4.32, P=.04, 95% CI 1.048-4.836), and 2.39 times greater compared to the conscious-thought condition (b=.87, Wald=4.87, P=.027, 95% CI 1.103-5.186). No difference was observed between the conscious-thought condition compared to the immediate-decision condition, and cognitive load manipulations did not affect choices or alter the above finding. Conclusions: This research demonstrates a plausible benefit of unconscious thinking as a decision aid for complex medical decisions, and represents the first use of unconscious thought processes as a patient-centered medical decision aid. Further, the quality of decisions reached unconsciously does not appear to be affected by the amount of cognitive load participants experienced.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNational Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM103474; REU in the Cell Biology Program, supported by NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant # DBI-0453021en_US
dc.rightsCCBY 2.0en_US
dc.subjectCognitive loaden_US
dc.titleAssessment of Unconscious Decision Aids Applied to Complex Patient-Centered Medical Decisionsen_US
mus.citation.journaltitleJournal of Medical Internet Researchen_US
mus.identifier.categoryHealth & Medical Sciencesen_US
mus.identifier.categorySocial Sciencesen_US
mus.relation.collegeCollege of Letters & Scienceen_US
mus.relation.universityMontana State University - Bozemanen_US

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

CCBY 2.0
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as CCBY 2.0

MSU uses DSpace software, copyright © 2002-2017  Duraspace. For library collections that are not accessible, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations and timely access to users with disabilities. For assistance, please submit an accessibility request for library material.