In Mind Field S1 E8 Michael Stevens presents a magician performing a trick with participants. Each participant is shown pairs of photographs of people and are given the forced choice of which one they preferred to work with. After being presented with all of the options, the magician performs a sleight of hand to sneak cards from the "no" pile into the "yes" pile while the participant is filling out a form. Then the participant is shown cards from the file that they believe are purely those that they said "yes" to, and asked to explain why they said "yes". When presented with cards that the participants said "no" to they appear to have made up rationalizations.

Are there studies that replicate this effect?


1 Answer 1


Great question.

This paradigm is called "choice blindness":

Subjects saw two photographs of people and were asked which they found more attractive. They were given a closer look at their "chosen" photograph and asked to verbally explain their choice. However, in some trials, the experimenter had slipped them the other photograph rather than the one they had chosen, using sleight of hand.

It has indeed been successfully replicated both by the original authors (Johansson et al), and some independent labs. From Book, 2020:

Many studies have provided evidence that this experimental effect is robust and has been replicated across a variety of domains, such as financial decisions (McLaughlin & Somerville, 2013), speech intention (Lind et al., 2014), taste and smell preferences (Hall et al., 2010), moral attitudes (Hall et al., 2012), and voting intentions (Hall et al., 2013).

For a more extensive review with additional studies, see Mouratidou, 2020 (pp. 18-23). However, note that what conclusions can be drawn from the results has been questioned, and remains under investigation.


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