Petter Johansson: Do you really know why you do what you do?
Petter Johansson and his research group study self-knowledge and attitude change using methods ranging from questionnaires to close-up card magic. Full bio
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the rich should pay more in taxes?
vote for Donald Trump?
of question all the time,
we expect ourselves to know the answer,
George Clooney to Tom Hanks,
and genuinely believe
that drives your choice,
like something is missing.
the nature of subjectivity,
that people are wrong about themselves.
we've been trying to solve in our lab.
what people say about themselves,
about their own mind is hard.
the illusion of a free choice.
is that your choice is no longer free.
the outcome of people's choices.
when people are wrong about themselves,
a short movie showing this manipulation.
How did they react, and what did they say?
if you can spot the magic going on.
they don't know what's going on.
Hi, my name's Petter.
pictures like this.
which one you find more attractive.
I will ask you why you prefer that face.
I like the way it's lit and looks.
of their choice.
innocent than the other guy.
and contour of the nose and face.
to me, and her haircut.
he looks a little bit like the Hobbit.
of the experiment?
ask a few questions.
of this experiment, was it easy or hard?
the pictures three times.
but I actually gave you the opposite.
OK, when you --
my attention span was.
during the experiment
but then I gave you the other one.
figured out now,
two cards in each hand,
into the black surface on the table.
of the participants detect these tries.
we explain what's going on,
to believe the trick has been made.
is quite robust and a genuine effect.
in self-knowledge, as I am,
when they explained these choices?
in these experiments.
what they say in a manipulated trial
a normal choice they've made
just as specific,
with the same level of certainty.
and a manipulated choice,
with the actual faces.
he preferred the girl to the left,
his choice like this.
at the bar than the other one.
the girl on the left to begin with,
sitting on the girl on the right.
of a post hoc construction.
the choice afterwards.
that our choices have been changed,
to explain them in another way.
often come to prefer the alternative,
they had previously rejected.
we call "choice blindness."
a number of different studies --
and even reasoning problems.
to more complex, more meaningful choices?
moral and political issues.
it needs a little bit of a background.
and a right-wing coalition.
between the parties within each coalition,
between the coalitions.
"an election compass"
of dividing issues
should be increased
between the two parents
to do a quick political survey.
their voting intention
to answer 12 of these questions.
tax on gas should be increased?
to tally their overall score.
one, two, three, four
scores to the left,
fill in their voting intention once more.
also a trick involved.
about their voting intention
going in the opposite direction.
of the participant's own answer.
about each of the questions:
their overall score.
their voting intention again.
manipulations are detected.
in the sense that they realize,
the question the first time I read it.
manipulations were changed,
of the participants' answers
their overall profile.
they are asked to motivate their choices?
interesting verbal reports
and I'll read it to you.
of email and internet traffic
international crime and terrorism."
with this statement." "Yes."
at international crime and terrorism,
those kinds of tools."
from the newspaper in the morning.
listen to mobile phones from prison,
his crimes from inside.
that we have so little power
the possibility to do so."
back and forth in the end:
to everything I do,
it's worth it in the long run."
a choice blindness experiment,
of that person.
with the voting intention?
clearly affected by the questionnaire.
or from right to left.
that go from clear voting intention
to clear voting intention.
staying uncertain throughout.
at what the polling institutes say
shifting their attitudes.
that you are not allowed to use this
to change people's votes
opportunity to change back
that if you can get people
in a conversation with themselves,
change their views.
is actually self-interpretation.
as much sense of it as possible
and with such ease
when we answer why.
when we try to understand other people.
the question "why"
is that, if you asked them,
or this relationship?" --
is that you actually create an attitude
before you asked the question.
in your professional life, as well,
and then you ask people,
asking a politician,
why a certain decision was made.
from a positive direction,
a little bit more flexible than we think.
the minds of others,
to engage with the issue
since starting with this research --
we've always had the rule
I liked something a year ago,
to stay consistent
relational life so mush easier to live.
as you think you do.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERPetter Johansson - Experimental psychologist
Petter Johansson and his research group study self-knowledge and attitude change using methods ranging from questionnaires to close-up card magic.
Why you should listen
Petter Johansson is an associate professor in cognitive science, and together with Lars Hall he runs the Choice Blindness Lab at Lund University in Sweden.
The main theme of Johansson's research is self-knowledge: How much do we know about ourselves, and how do we come to acquire this knowledge? To study these questions, he and his collaborators have developed an experimental paradigm known as "choice blindness." The methodological twist in these experiments is to use magic tricks to manipulate the outcome of people's choices -- and then measure to what extent and in what ways people react to these changes. The general finding is that participants often fail to detect when they receive the opposite of their choice, and when asked to explain, they readily construct and confabulate answers motivating a choice they only believe they intended to make. The effect has been demonstrated in choice experiments on topics such as facial attractiveness, consumer choice and moral and political decision making.
Petter Johansson | Speaker | TED.com