Research Article: A massive experiment on choice blindness in political decisions: Confidence, confabulation, and unconscious detection of self-deception

Date Published: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Andrés Rieznik, Lorena Moscovich, Alan Frieiro, Julieta Figini, Rodrigo Catalano, Juan Manuel Garrido, Facundo Álvarez Heduan, Mariano Sigman, Pablo A. Gonzalez, Asim Zia.


We implemented a Choice Blindness Paradigm containing political statements in Argentina to reveal the existence of categorical ranges of introspective reports, identified by confidence and agreement levels, separating easy from very hard to manipulate decisions. CBP was implemented in both live and web-based forms. Importantly, and contrary to what was observed in Sweden, we did not observe changes in voting intentions. Also, confidence levels in the manipulated replies where significantly lower than in non-manipulated cases even in undetected manipulations. We name this phenomenon unconscious detection of self-deception. Results also show that females are more difficult to manipulate than men.

Partial Text

How accurate are the explanations we offer ourselves for the things we do and the choices we make? As Moore and Haggard pointed out [1], this was a question famously tackled by Nisbett and Wilson (1977) in their seminal article “Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes” [2].

The most salient findings of our study are:

As pointed out by Combs et al [41], politics is often a kind of ‘‘blood sport” in which party affiliation and partisan instincts carry the day more often than bipartisan sentiments. A natural question arises: does learning the principles here studied lead to better decisions and decreases vulnerability towards deception and self-deception?




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