Ap Dijksterhuis - The Smart Unconscious. Thinking by feel
We make important decisions based on a conscious appraisal - or so we think. Whether that is truly the case we do not know. Psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis began contemplating the matter after taking just five minutes to decide on the purchase of his house. Using volunteer test subjects he showed that the best decisions are those taken most quickly.
In The Smart Unconscious, a great success in the Netherlands, Dijksterhuis challenges the prevailing belief that the conscious mind is more important than the unconscious, concluding that our unconscious does far more to determine our behaviour than any of the thought processes of which we are aware.
As a scientist, Dijksterhuis does not venture into philosophical or religious issues, such as the belief that consciousness distinguishes us from the animals or the question of what lives on after we die, but he does conclude that consciousness is responsible for the illusion that it would be terrible for us to be without consciousness.
At the same time he is convinced that we cannot do without our conscious existence, since it gives colour to our lives by enabling us to find enjoyment, whether it be in music, a glass of good wine or a smile.
Ap Dijksterhuis is Professor of Psychology at the University of Nijmegen. He has written extensively on the unconscious. His work is the subject of much international attention and has been published in authoritative journals including Science. He is the recipient of many prizes, among them the prestigious Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association.
- ‘The book reads as smoothly as an exciting novel, yet at the same time it is appropriately scientific.’ - Psycholoog
- ‘A paragon of popular-scientific treatment.’ - Trouw