A new study from Northwestern University offers precise electrophysiological evidence that such decisions may sometimes not be guesswork after all.
The research utilizes the latest brain-reading technology to point to the surprising accuracy of memories that can’t be consciously accessed.
During a special recognition test, guesses turned out to be as accurate or more accurate than when study participants thought they consciously remembered.
“We may actually know more than we think we know in everyday situations, too,” said Ken Paller, professor of psychology at Northwestern. “Unconscious memory may come into play, for example, in recognizing the face of a perpetrator of a crime or the correct answer on a test. Or the choice from a horde of consumer products may be driven by memories that are quite alive on an unconscious level.”
The study links lucky guesses to valid memories and suggests that people need to be more receptive to multiple types of knowledge, Paller said.
See also: Priming
I’ve always wondered if there’s a relationship between priming and advertising.