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The Interrelation of Perceived and Unconscious Reactions in the Situation of the Rank Assessment of Preferences Among Several Alternatives 74
A pilot experiment was conducted to determine the nature of electro-dermal activity in a situation where a person evaluates several more or less close alternatives, choosing the most preferred one for him. We often find ourselves in such situations, choosing one or another product for purchase, which is a private copy of a certain category of goods. The final choice is influenced by many factors, both conscious (rational) and unconscious. In behavioral economics literature, the latter are often viewed as irrational components of choice. One cannot agree with this, if we take into account the fact that the unconscious contains, among other things, the whole experience acquired by a person in the process of his conscious activity. However, the question of the relationship between conscious and unconscious components in human behavior, in particular, being in a situation of choice, remains open. In the experiment described below, it was found out how objective (usually unconscious) indicators of choice correlate with those subjective assessments that accompany such a choice and which are reflected in behavioral, accessible to the awareness of human actions. The galvanic skin response (GSR, according to Feret) served as an indicator of the unconscious component of choice. The result of a conscious choice was recorded in the form of a mouse’s movement trajectory, controlled by the subject. The main conclusion is that the least preferred objects, the attractiveness of which is estimated to be significantly lower than the most preferred objects, cause stronger GSR, i.e. there is an inverse relationship between the amplitudes of the GSR and the estimates of the attractiveness of the objects. The hypothesis is formulated that the primary emotional response, reflected by unconscious visceral reactions, in the process of awareness is subjected to correction in the direction of positive values. Additional experiments are planned, including with the involvement of other indicators of emotional dynamics.
Keywords: electrodermal activity, galvanic skin response, rank assessment, alternative choice, behavioral economics
Column: Psychology of Emotions
The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 18-10-00291.