Awareness Clouds Judgment According To Latest Studies

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A latest study has shown that being aware of a certain thing impacts a person’s decision making power. The study was conducted under the guidance of Floris de Lange from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, which is a part of Radboud University Nijmegen. The study has brought to light certain interesting and intriguing facts that correlate awareness and decision making ability.

The researchers have said that being aware could one decision due to chain of events in the brain. A decision making process involves a number of minor processes such as evaluation of the circumstance, the available choices and resources that are accumulated by the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell depending on the decision that has to be taken. The question that has often been asked is whether being aware of certain facts makes a person prejudiced so much so that it might affect his ability to make the right decision.

In order to understand this concept, researchers conducted different experiments on the participants who were shown a series of arrows in two stages. In the first stage of the experiment, participants were shown arrows that were fully and clearly visible. In the second stage of the experiment, the arrows were covered halfway in a manner that largely caused blockage of the image. The participants were required to observe and identify the direction of majority of the arrows shown to them.

Very interesting results were observed as a result of the study. It was seen that in both the cases, participants were able to identify one predominant direction but the decision changed due to their awareness. The change was seen in two important parameters – behavior and brain activity. It was seen that as a person became aware of the situation by the evidence accumulated, there was a change in the process of thinking from linear approach to a non linear approach. This shift was seen to be more dominant with the increase in awareness. Researchers explained that in the second experiment, because half of the image was covered, participants had to continue evidence accumulation in order to reach a correct decision. This goes on to show that when the conscious of a person is aware of a fact and has evidence regarding it, decision is biased due to prior prejudices or perceptions. Furthermore, it also came to light that a lot of factors that make a decision biased happen automatically, without the conscious control of the person. Perception of new information is largely based on what is already stored in the brain.