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Better Than Conscious?Decision Making, the Human Mind, and Implications For Institutions$
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Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195805

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195805.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

Better Than Conscious?

Better Than Conscious?

The Brain, the Psyche, Behavior, and Institutions

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Better Than Conscious?
Source:
Better Than Conscious?
Author(s):

Christoph Engel

Wolf Singer

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262195805.003.0001

The title of this chapter is deliberately provocative. Intuitively, many will be inclined to see conscious control of mental process as a good thing. Yet control comes at a high price. The consciously not directly controlled, automatic, parallel processing of information is not only much faster, it also handles much more information, and it does so in a qualitatively different manner. This different mental machinery is not adequate for all tasks. The human ability to deliberate consciously has evolved for good reason. However, on many more tasks than one might think at first sight, intuitive decision making, or at least an intuitive component in a more complex mental process, does indeed improve performance. This chapter presents the issue, offers concepts to understand it, discusses the effects in terms of problem-solving capacity, contrasts norms for saying when this is a good thing, and points to scientific and real-world audiences for this work.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, conscious control, institutional design, intuitive decision making, nonconscious decision making, problem solving, rational choice

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