Bar Ilan University (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Page: 7918 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0081
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
The literature is divided about the effect of unconscious thought processes on decision making. The issue has been tested in subjects like mathematics and economics in unequivocal solutions exist and precise criteria are available for evaluating them. This study examines the contribution of unconscious thinking to decision making processes in education, where the chances of success for various options cannot be assessed accurately in advance.

Research Design:
165 elementary school teachers made decisions about two educational cases, once immediately after reading about them and a second time after sleeping on them overnight. Measures were taken to ensure that participants would not discuss the cases between the two decision-making time points. The study compared the main components of the decision making processes that were utilized when making the immediate and the deferred decisions.

In making the deferred decisions, a considerable number of participants manifested significant improvement in the number of decision making components they utilized. This improvement was unrelated to the type of activity the participants engaged in during the delay or the extent of their work experience. Analysis of the individual findings shows that the improvement was reflected in the number and variety of decision components taken into account. Participants who showed no improvement in these parameters manifested no regression in the quality of their decision making process.

Making maximal use of individual decision making abilities entails a gradual process of learning and formulation, which should include the time dimension. Decision makers should avoid making hasty or immediate decisions when possible.
Implications for research and practice.

The study discusses the consequences of the findings for improving the decision making culture in educational institutions and directions are proposed for further research to clarify the issue.
Conscious, unconscious, decision making, choice.