Did Malcom Gladwell get it wrong? And no, this is not a story about his hairdo.
A Psyblog post, “Can The Unconscious Outperform The Conscious Mind,” reports that efforts to verify the conclusions in Malcom Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking have come up short.
“…a team at the University of New South Wales and the University of Essex describe four separate experiments searching for the fabled power of unconscious thought? One of these was a straight replication of Dijksterhuis’ study [which Gladwell based many of his ideas on], and the other three were variations on the theme. All four experiments pointed towards the same conclusion:
‘In stark contrast to the claims in the literature and the media we found very little evidence of the superiority of unconscious though for complex decisions.'”
Irreproducible results are, as they say in the scientific world, problematic. For my advertising friends who attend faithfully the church of the snap decision, it may be time to pour yourselves a brandy and ponder at length whatever perplexes you.