• Feeling hungry? Better let your subconscious make the decisions

  • 腹ペコ?決定は無意識に任せたほうがいい。

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  • For optimal decision making, some studieshave suggested it's best not to think too hard, that it's advantageous to let your subconscious do the creative heavy lifting. However, other studies have failed to find that unconscious thought leads to superior decisions. To begin solving this contradiction, Maarten Bos and his team have investigated one factor that could make a difference to the effectiveness of unconscious thought - a person's sugar levels. Their rationale is that conscious thought may require high levels of sugar, whereas unconscious thought might be able to operate effectively on low energy.
  • いくつかの研究によると、最善の決断をするためには考え込み過ぎないのが良いという。というのは、無意識に創造的な力仕事を任せるのが有利という。しかし、他の研究では無意識が優れた決断につながるということを確認していない。この矛盾を解くために、マーテン・ボスとそのチームは無意識な思考の効率の違いにつながるひとつの要因―個人の糖レベル―を調査した。意識は高い糖レベルが必要だが、無意識は低いエネルギーで効率よく働くというのが彼らの理論的根拠である。
  • One hundred and fifty-six students (35 men) abstained from food and drink (except water) for three hours prior to the study. On arrival half of them enjoyed a can of the sugary drink 7-up. The others had a sweet tasting, sugar-free drink. To allow the sugar to reach the brains of those who had 7-up, all the students then watched a nine-minute wildlife film.
  • 156人の学生(うち35人が男性)が実験前3時間飲食しなかった。開始時に半数が糖分たっぷりなドリンク7-upをひと缶飲んだ。残りの人は甘い糖分ゼロのドリンクを飲んだ。その後、糖分が7-upを飲んだ学生の脳に届くのを待つために、全員が90分の野生生物に関する映画を鑑賞した。
  • Next the students were presented with details about either four cars or four jobs. The items differed on 12 key aspects, which made them either more or less appealing. Whether viewing cars or jobs, there was always one optimal choice that ticked 75 per cent of the boxes; two choices that ticked half the boxes; and one choice that ticked just 25 per cent of the choices.
  • 次に、学生たちには4つの自動車、あるいは4つの仕事についての詳細が示された。それぞれ12の面で違い、
  • Finally, half the participants in each drink group then spent four minutes thinking about the jobs or cars before rating the four options in terms of preference - this was the conscious thought condition. The other half of the participants watched a second wildlife film for the same duration of time (to prevent conscious thought about the cars or jobs) before rating the various options - this was the unconscious thought condition.
  • For the participants with low sugar, their ratings were more astute if they were in the unconscious thought condition, distracted by the second nature film. By contrast, the participants who'd had the benefit of the sugar hit showed more astute ratings if they were in the conscious thought condition and had had the chance to think deliberately for four minutes. "We found that when we have enough energy, conscious deliberation enables us to make good decisions," the researchers said. "The unconscious on the other hand seems to operate fine with low energy."
  • The study has some shortcomings as the researchers acknowledged. For example, the decision-making was artificial - the participants weren't really choosing a car or job; they were merely rating the various choices in a contrived task. Another thing is that it's far from certain that the participants who watched the second nature film weren't thinking about the cars or jobs at the same time. Nonetheless, the researchers concluded: "Our data show that when we are low on energy we can employ another decision strategy than thinking consciously: we can trust our unconscious."