It was proposed by Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran Nordgren in 2006. It is claimed that subjects unable to devote conscious processing to the task outperform both those who can spend time deliberating and those who must respond immediately. Dijksterhuis and Nordgren interpreted these findings as strong support for the idea of UT being superior to CT, and used them in part to justify six principles distinguishing UT from CT. This position runs counter making up the mind pdf most research on unconscious processing conducted over the last 40 years, which has found unconscious processes to be characterized by simple responses, and to be incapable of complex operations.
When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. UTT is in this respect reminiscent of some classical views of the unconscious that emerged as far back as the early 20th century.
Both UTT and Freudian psychoanalytic theory hold that complex operations are performed by the unconscious, but where Freud’s theory suggests that the unconscious represses harmful memories to protect one’s ego, UTT’s version of UT performs rational operations to complete unsolved cognitive or affective tasks. Helmholtz’s famous use of perception as an example of unconscious inference suggests that unconscious thought, for him, operates much more quickly. Probably the most striking contrast UTT has with today’s understanding of the unconscious is that between its main claim and studies on implicit perception. Researchers like Anthony Greenwald have used subliminal semantic activation tasks to evaluate unconscious thought by presenting words very quickly to prevent them from entering conscious thought.
The unconscious’ inability to process more than one word at a time has led these researchers to conclude that unconscious thought is unsophisticated. But UTT holds that unconscious thought is very sophisticated, enjoying benefits like freedom from bias and the ability to integrate disparate pieces of information more efficiently than conscious thought. Dijksterhuis defines conscious thought as the thought processes one is aware of and can introspect on. Unconscious thought, for Dijksterhuis, is simply the opposite of conscious thought in that it involves any thought that you cannot introspect on.