Imagine. You’re window shopping and happen to choose between two items: peanut butter and jelly. You talk over your choices with your friends, but you’re in a hurry so you call over the shop attendant. Ten minutes later, the attendant hands you your order just for you to realize that you don’t like it, and start wondering maybe that wasn’t your choice. Wait a second, what happened? That kind of mind game might be more possible than it seems. Let us introduce you to choice blindness.
Related media: Choice Blindness
Is It My Choice Or Not?
We guess you’re pretty much aware of your choices no matter what — though you might draw attention that maybe that wasn’t your intention. Whatever. In a series of studies by researchers from Lind University, they found that it was really easy to trick people into thinking that they had made a different choice than the first one they took. Mind blown? Here’s how the first study turned out.
Participants were asked to choose between two faces, the one they find more attractive than the other. Later, they were shown what they chose, but not knowing that the researchers sometimes swap the faces they actually chose for the choices they didn’t choose. Obviously, that seems easy to notice, but surprisingly, the participants chose the swapped ones more than a third of the time. The switch even had an impact on their subsequent choices.
The participants were later shown the same faces again and were asked to compare them with other choices. As it turned out, participants who had their choices swapped actually chose the face that had been swapped out more often than not. This was clearly an indication that they had actually been convinced that the face they didn’t choose was more attractive, after all.
A Twist Of Switching Sides
It seems judging a beauty contest isn’t the same as choosing between shirts, or is it? This phenomenon is common with even our deeply held moral predispositions. Don’t trust us?
In a 2012 study published in the Journal for Public Library of Science (PLOS), researchers randomly recruited participants and had them fill out a survey and rank whether they strongly agree or disagree with certain moral values, such as: “It is more important for a society to promote the welfare of the citizens than to protect their personal integrity.”
Moments later, they were asked to discuss, review, and justify their opinions, not knowing that the researchers had swapped their original opinions for their opposing views — in this case: “It is more important for a society to promote the personal integrity of the citizens than to protect their welfare.”
Whatever The Case, That’s Your Choice
As usual, more than a third of the recruits failed to notice the switch. The researchers even went further to ask each recruit questions like “so you don’t agree that [statement]?” — or “so you do agree that [statement]?” Just to make sure that the recruits totally understood their new opinion that the had made.
It didn’t matter: those people who were ambushed with a swapped-out set of political or moral beliefs were completely capable of justifying their response despite the fact that moments earlier they professed to believe something completely different. Go easy on yourself — your beliefs aren’t as iron-clad as you think they are.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Aug 10, 2019.