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How distinct are intuition and deliberation? An eye-tracking analysis of instruction-induced decision modes

By Nina Horstmann, Andrea Ahlgrimm and Andreas Glöckner


In recent years, numerous studies comparing intuition and deliberation have been published. However, relatively little is known about the cognitive processes underlying the two decision modes. In two studies, we analyzed the effects of decision mode instructions on processes of information search and integration, using eye-tracking technology in a between-participants (Study 1) and a within-participants (Study 2) design. Our findings indicate that the instruction to deliberate does not necessarily lead to qualitatively different information processing compared to the instruction to decide intuitively. We found no difference in mean fixation duration and the distribution of short, medium and long fixations. Short fixations in particular prevailed under both decision mode instructions, while long fixations indicating a conscious and calculation-based information processing were rarely observed. Instruction-induced deliberation led to a higher number of fixations, a more complete information search and more repeated information inspections. We interpret our findings as support for the hypothesis that intuitive and deliberate decision modes share the same basic processes which are supplemented by additional operations in the deliberate decision mode

Topics: Decision making, decision mode, intuition, deliberation, eye-tracking
Year: 2009
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