Do conscious thoughts cause behavior?

Abstract:

:Everyday intuitions suggest full conscious control of behavior, but evidence of unconscious causation and automaticity has sustained the contrary view that conscious thought has little or no impact on behavior. We review studies with random assignment to experimental manipulations of conscious thought and behavioral dependent measures. Topics include mental practice and simulation, anticipation, planning, reflection and rehearsal, reasoning, counterproductive effects, perspective taking, self-affirmation, framing, communication, and overriding automatic responses. The evidence for conscious causation of behavior is profound, extensive, adaptive, multifaceted, and empirically strong. However, conscious causation is often indirect and delayed, and it depends on interplay with unconscious processes. Consciousness seems especially useful for enabling behavior to be shaped by nonpresent factors and by social and cultural information, as well as for dealing with multiple competing options or impulses. It is plausible that almost every human behavior comes from a mixture of conscious and unconscious processing.

journal_name

Annu Rev Psychol

authors

Baumeister RF,Masicampo EJ,Vohs KD

doi

10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.131126

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-01-01 00:00:00

pages

331-61

eissn

0066-4308

issn

1545-2085

journal_volume

62

pub_type

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