Meta-Review

Two articles of note in the NY Times. The first is about how subconscious choices affect our everyday actions and choices without us realizing it at a conscious level.

"When it comes to our behavior from moment to moment, the big question is, ‘What to do next?’ " said John A. Bargh, a professor of psychology at Yale and a co-author, with Lawrence Williams, of the coffee study, which was presented at a recent psychology conference. "Well, we’re finding that we have these unconscious behavioral guidance systems that are continually furnishing suggestions through the day about what to do next, and the brain is considering and often acting on those, all before conscious awareness."

...

The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup.

That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java.

The second article is by John Tierney about a list compiled by David Buss of the reasons people have sex.

For now, thanks to psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, we can at last count the whys. After asking nearly 2,000 people why they’d had sex, the researchers have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons — everything from "I wanted to feel closer to God" to "I was drunk." They even found a few people who claimed to have been motivated by the desire to have a child.

The researchers, Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss, believe their list, published in the August issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the most thorough taxonomy of sexual motivation ever compiled. This seems entirely plausible.

I'd be skeptical of the list of reasons because of the findings of the first article: I don't take survey responses about sex at face value. Not because I think people have a reason to lie, but rather because I don't think people really know why they do what they do in their sex lives. Their motivations are subconscious and hidden from their conscious minds. Of course, I have no proof of this.

Share this

It's all subconcious

The determining factors within our brains are all subconcious until after the fact, after the choice. Even for your "conscious" choices. Our brains manufacture the illusion of conscious control after the fact. The neat thing is the "illusion" corresponds to reality since it was "you" (your brain) that made the choice.