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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Mental Imagery as a Moderator of the Unconscious Thought Effect

Published: May 27, 2020


Malak El Halabi, Grenoble Ecole de Management; Olivier Trendel, Grenoble Ecole de Management


Decision Making; Unconscious Thought; Visual Mental Imagery


Recent research has shown that when people are facing a complex decision making situation with several choice options to choose from, a distraction task leads them to make better choices than conscious deliberation because it elicits unconscious thought. Despite successful replications of what has been coined as the unconscious thought effect, several studies have failed to replicate it and subsequently tried to examine moderators. Our research advances this on going debate and can reconcile previous conflicting findings. The results of our experiments show that visual mental imagery is a moderating variable of the unconscious thought effect and can explain some of the field’s failed replications.