To help offer the best experience possible, Guilford uses cookies on its site. By browsing here, you acknowledge our terms of use. For more information, see our Cookie Policy.
You can also read Guilford's Privacy Policy.

×
Skip to main content

        All Access Pass: All Guilford journals, $49.95 for 30 days | Click on any article to purchase

Lady Justice Thinks Unconsciously: Unconscious Thought Can Lead to More Accurate Justice Judgments

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2009.27.4.509

In this article, we argue that when forming justice judgments, unconscious thought can lead to more accurate justice judgments than both conscious thought and immediate judgment. In two experiments, participants formed justice judgments about complex job application procedures. Specifically, participants made comparative justice judgments (Experiment 1) or absolute justice judgments on rating scales (Experiment 2). In immediate judgment conditions, participants made a justice judgment immediately after reading the stimulus materials. In conscious thought conditions, participants consciously thought about their justice judgment for 3 minutes. In unconscious thought conditions, participants were distracted for 3 minutes and then reported their justice judgments. As predicted, findings of both experiments show that unconscious thinkers made the most accurate justice judgments. These results provide a new perspective on the social psychology of justice judgments and yield additional insight into unconscious thinking.