The question raised in this paper is whether goal conflicts can occur outside of conscious awareness. Given the numerous and potentially conflicting goals people pursue, and the severe scarcity of mental resources, we offer a positive answer. Six experiments that employed a dissociation paradigm tested this hypothesis. Using three implicit behavioral markers of goal conflict (increased decision times, increased decision variance and heightened sensitivity to environmental information), and one physiological marker (increased arousal as measured by skin conductance level), these experiments document goal conflicts that do not reach conscious awareness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Gershon Ben-Shakhar for valuable discussions and advice regarding skin conductance measures used in Experiment 3, and Eva Gagel for her help in running the experiment. This research was partly supported by grant # 0321648 from the Israeli Science Foundation to Ran R. Hassin.
- Non-conscious goal conflict
- Non-conscious goal pursuit