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NY Times Article: The Unconscious Mind

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  • medit8ionsociety
    The Unconscious Mind: A Great Decision Maker By BENEDICT CAREY Published: February 21, 2006 Snap judgments about people and places can be remarkably accurate,
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 23, 2006
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      The Unconscious Mind: A Great Decision Maker
      By BENEDICT CAREY
      Published: February 21, 2006

      Snap judgments about people and places can be
      remarkably accurate, and there is no substitute
      for simple logic and reflection in determining
      questions like which alarm clock or cellphone is
      the best value.

      But many more important decisions * choosing the
      right apartment, the optimal house, the best
      vacation * turn on such a bewildering swarm of facts
      that people often throw up their hands and put the
      whole thing temporarily out of mind. And new research
      suggests that this may be a rewarding strategy.

      In a series of experiments reported last week in
      the journal Science, a team of Dutch psychologists
      found that people struggling to make complex decisions
      did best when they were distracted and were not able
      to think consciously about the choice at all.

      The research not only backs up the common advice to
      "sleep on it" when facing difficult choices, but it
      also suggests that the unconscious brain can actively
      reason as well as produce weird dreams and Freudian
      slips.

      "This is very elegant work, and like any great work,
      it opens up as many questions as it answers" about the
      unconscious, said Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at
      the University of Virginia and the author of the book
      "Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive
      Unconscious." He was not involved in the research.

      Psychologists have known for years that people process
      an enormous amount of information unconsciously * for
      example, when they hear their names pop up in a
      conversation across the room that they were not
      consciously listening to. But the new report suggests
      that people take this wealth of under-the-radar
      information, combine it with deliberately studied
      facts and impressions and then make astute judgments
      that they would not otherwise form.

      In the study, the research team, led by Ap Dijksterhuis
      of the University of Amsterdam, had 80 students choose
      among four cars based on a list of attributes for each,
      like age, gasoline mileage, transmission and handling.
      After presenting the attributes in quick succession,
      the researchers instructed some students to think carefully
      about the decision for four minutes and distracted others
      by asking them to solve anagrams.

      When the list of characteristics was four items, students
      were more likely to pick the best functioning vehicles if
      they reasoned through the decision, rather than if they
      were distracted. But with 12 attributes, the distracted
      anagram solvers tended to make wiser choices, the study found.

      The unconscious brain has a far greater capacity for
      information than conscious working memory, the authors
      write, and it may be less susceptible to certain biases.

      "One example is people who like a house for its space but
      don't properly weigh in the effect of commuting distance
      until they're spending two hours on the train every day,"
      said Dr. Dijksterhuis. The unconscious brain might give
      the commuting more weight, he said.

      The researchers developed a "complexity score" for 40
      products and assets based on how many of each item's
      attributes people took into account. Cars, computers
      and apartments were at the top, dresses and shirts in
      the middle and oven mitts and umbrellas at the bottom.

      Using that scale, the psychologists surveyed students who
      had recently bought some of those items and found that
      the more the buyers thought about their purchases of simple
      objects, the more satisfied they were. But the opposite
      was the case for complex purchases, where the more time
      spent in conscious deliberation, the less satisfied the
      students were.

      In a survey of shoppers outside furniture and department
      stores, the researchers found a similar relationship
      between the amount of time shoppers spent thinking about
      simple and more involved decisions and their later
      satisfaction with their purchases. The research is only a
      stab at characterizing a process that is mostly unknown,
      psychologists say.

      For example, the studies did not take into account the
      effect of emotion or memory on the unconscious, both of
      which can sway decisions. Nor is it clear exactly which
      kinds of decisions are best handled by letting go.

      "Are we saying that an executive who has just read an
      important report should not think about it?" said Jonathan
      Schooler, a psychologist at the University of British
      Columbia. "The research helps us work toward an answer,
      but I don't think we're quite there yet."

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      This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not
      always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are
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      of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy,
      scientific, spiritual, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
      constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided
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      17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed
      without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
      receiving the included information for research and educational
      purposes. For more information go to:
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
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    • jogeshwarmahanta
      Much has been said and read about unconscious. But how to extinguish its negative forces remains still a challenge. Here is the exercise I impart for the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 23, 2006
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        Much has been said and read about unconscious. But how to extinguish
        its negative forces remains still a challenge. Here is the exercise
        I impart for the purpose.

        The purpose of this exercise is:

        1.To plunge into theta state of brain waves, a deep state of
        relaxation.
        2.To stimulate every brain cell.
        3.To cleanse unconscious which contains the garbage of our
        experiences.
        4.To break the obsessions.

        THE EXERCISE
        1. Suspend your logical thinking for a while and be in a
        translogical mental set as if in dream.
        2. Sit down in a comfortable position where you will continue for
        about 45 minutes.
        3. Feel relaxed and close your eyes.
        4. The beginning:
        Imagine a big lake with abundance of lotuses. There is a very big
        lotus which covers the whole lake. You are in the center of this
        lotus. You find a little hole in the center. You get thinned and
        slide down through the hole. You get into the chord which is long
        enough and you go on sliding and sliding………… Then you reach in a
        very beautiful palace. As you go on exploring, you find a beautiful
        garden. Here are various types of strange animals which are very
        meek and mild. You see some rabbits which are having very big horns.
        You mount on a rabbit and climb on one of its horns. You go on
        climbing up and up and up………………
        5. Have no more imaginations by your effort but leave the
        imaginations to flow by themselves spontaneously. Be just
        effortless.
        6. You will have strange imaginations.
        7. Whenever any ugly imagination comes, just reverberate BEAUTY. The
        ugly imaginations will disappear. Please do not forget to
        reverberate BEAUTY whenever any ugly imagination comes. I find that
        some become so engrossed in the imagination that they forget to
        reverberate.
        8. Continue for about 45 minutes.
        9. Observe your feelings. How freshening it is!
        10. Repeat it regularly. You may restructure step 4 above as you
        please.


        Jo dubyo so paio gahree pani paith(One who dives down gets the
        treasure under the deep water)-Kaveer Das. And also ex nihilo nihil
        fit(nothing comes out of nothing).


        Now please go through the experience what it is!

        Regards.








        --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety
        <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > The Unconscious Mind: A Great Decision Maker
        > By BENEDICT CAREY
        > Published: February 21, 2006
        >
        > Snap judgments about people and places can be
        > remarkably accurate, and there is no substitute
        > for simple logic and reflection in determining
        > questions like which alarm clock or cellphone is
        > the best value.
        >
        > But many more important decisions * choosing the
        > right apartment, the optimal house, the best
        > vacation * turn on such a bewildering swarm of facts
        > that people often throw up their hands and put the
        > whole thing temporarily out of mind. And new research
        > suggests that this may be a rewarding strategy.
        >
        > In a series of experiments reported last week in
        > the journal Science, a team of Dutch psychologists
        > found that people struggling to make complex decisions
        > did best when they were distracted and were not able
        > to think consciously about the choice at all.
        >
        > The research not only backs up the common advice to
        > "sleep on it" when facing difficult choices, but it
        > also suggests that the unconscious brain can actively
        > reason as well as produce weird dreams and Freudian
        > slips.
        >
        > "This is very elegant work, and like any great work,
        > it opens up as many questions as it answers" about the
        > unconscious, said Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at
        > the University of Virginia and the author of the book
        > "Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive
        > Unconscious." He was not involved in the research.
        >
        > Psychologists have known for years that people process
        > an enormous amount of information unconsciously * for
        > example, when they hear their names pop up in a
        > conversation across the room that they were not
        > consciously listening to. But the new report suggests
        > that people take this wealth of under-the-radar
        > information, combine it with deliberately studied
        > facts and impressions and then make astute judgments
        > that they would not otherwise form.
        >
        > In the study, the research team, led by Ap Dijksterhuis
        > of the University of Amsterdam, had 80 students choose
        > among four cars based on a list of attributes for each,
        > like age, gasoline mileage, transmission and handling.
        > After presenting the attributes in quick succession,
        > the researchers instructed some students to think carefully
        > about the decision for four minutes and distracted others
        > by asking them to solve anagrams.
        >
        > When the list of characteristics was four items, students
        > were more likely to pick the best functioning vehicles if
        > they reasoned through the decision, rather than if they
        > were distracted. But with 12 attributes, the distracted
        > anagram solvers tended to make wiser choices, the study found.
        >
        > The unconscious brain has a far greater capacity for
        > information than conscious working memory, the authors
        > write, and it may be less susceptible to certain biases.
        >
        > "One example is people who like a house for its space but
        > don't properly weigh in the effect of commuting distance
        > until they're spending two hours on the train every day,"
        > said Dr. Dijksterhuis. The unconscious brain might give
        > the commuting more weight, he said.
        >
        > The researchers developed a "complexity score" for 40
        > products and assets based on how many of each item's
        > attributes people took into account. Cars, computers
        > and apartments were at the top, dresses and shirts in
        > the middle and oven mitts and umbrellas at the bottom.
        >
        > Using that scale, the psychologists surveyed students who
        > had recently bought some of those items and found that
        > the more the buyers thought about their purchases of simple
        > objects, the more satisfied they were. But the opposite
        > was the case for complex purchases, where the more time
        > spent in conscious deliberation, the less satisfied the
        > students were.
        >
        > In a survey of shoppers outside furniture and department
        > stores, the researchers found a similar relationship
        > between the amount of time shoppers spent thinking about
        > simple and more involved decisions and their later
        > satisfaction with their purchases. The research is only a
        > stab at characterizing a process that is mostly unknown,
        > psychologists say.
        >
        > For example, the studies did not take into account the
        > effect of emotion or memory on the unconscious, both of
        > which can sway decisions. Nor is it clear exactly which
        > kinds of decisions are best handled by letting go.
        >
        > "Are we saying that an executive who has just read an
        > important report should not think about it?" said Jonathan
        > Schooler, a psychologist at the University of British
        > Columbia. "The research helps us work toward an answer,
        > but I don't think we're quite there yet."
        >
        > FAIR USE NOTICE
        > This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not
        > always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are
        > making such material available in our efforts to advance
        understanding
        > of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy,
        > scientific, spiritual, and social justice issues, etc. We believe
        this
        > constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
        provided
        > for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with
        Title
        > 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed
        > without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
        > receiving the included information for research and educational
        > purposes. For more information go to:
        > http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
        > copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that
        go
        > beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright
        owner
        >
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