This kind of evidence of little, if any, “control” of behavior is directly relevant to marketing and business. Certainly, those of us wanting to influence behavior need to operate in these systems and millisecond timeframes.
You’re far less in control of your brain than you think, study finds
September 28, 2012
You’ve probably never given much thought to the fact that picking up your cup of morning coffee presents your brain with a set of complex decisions.
- You need to decide how to aim your hand,
- grasp the handle and
- raise the cup to your mouth,
- all without spilling the contents on your lap.
A new Northwestern University study shows that, not only does your brain handle such complex decisions for you, it also hides information from you about how those decisions are made.
“When you pick up an object, your brain automatically decides how to control your muscles based on what your eyes provide about the object’s shape. When you pick up a mug by the handle with your right hand, you need to add a clockwise twist to your grip to compensate for the extra weight that you see on the left side of the mug. “We showed that the use of this visual information is so powerful and automatic that we cannot turn it off. When people see an object weighted in one direction, they actually can’t help but ‘feel’ the weight in that direction, even when they know that we’re tricking them,”
“In the vast majority of cases, you want to ‘delegate’ decisions like this to the unconscious parts of your brain, leaving you free to focus on less straightforward problems, like following driving directions or enjoying your cup of coffee.”