Episide 06 | You’re five studies away from doubting every decision you’ve ever made!

This episode was recorded live at the Etch Summer Summit 2019, and takes a quick look at how our own brains could be the hidden persuader when it comes to making decisions. Are you really in control over the choices you make, or has your brain just made you think you are? Five studies from psychology build on each other to make you doubt every decision you’ve ever made.

I got the idea for this talk about talking with Prof. John Fox about Nick Chater’s book ‘The Mind is Flat’. The basic premise that we don’t make decisions based on an underlying belief system or attitudes is rather controversial, and so I thought it would be of interest at the Etch Summer Summit after people had downed a few summer cocktails. I really recommend picking up a copy of Nick Chater’s book, where he delves into a much more structured and persuasive argument for his hypothesis.

Show notes:

‘The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind’ by Nick Chater (Amazon Link)

The seed for the idea of the flat mind came from a 1995 paper by Paul Slovic called ‘The Construction of Preference’ (PDF)

Cerebral Organization & Behavior’ by Roger Sperry (1961)

‘How the polls can be both spot on and dead wrong: Using choice blindness to shift political attitudes and voter intentions’ by Hall, Strandberg, Pärnamets, Lind, Tärning & Johanson (2013)

‘Failure to detect mismatches between intention and outcome in a simple decision task’ by Johansson, Hall, Sikström & Olsson (2005)

‘A single exposure to the American flag shifts support toward Republicanism up to 8 months later’ by Carter, Ferguson & Hassin (2011)

Also, check out the work of Etch at : etchuk.com



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The Design Psych

The Design Psych


A psychologist and designer with a passion for finding intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves.