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Unthink: And how to harness the power of your unconscious

Chris Paley

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Prose: non-fiction, Psychology, Cognitivism, cognitive theory, Intelligence & reasoning

Why you don't think the way you think...and how to think more successfully

Your life is dominated by your unconscious mind: by thoughts you're unaware of and movements you don't realise you are making. Words, colours, mannerisms and other cues you don't realise are affecting you, change what you think. The confidence you have in your ability to reason and to consciously choose what to do is caused by a series of illusions that scientists are only just beginning to understand. The discovery of these illusions will change the way we see ourselves more than the discoveries of Darwin and Copernicus.

Unthink explores the unconscious decisions we make, and covers a variety of topics, ranging from how we choose politicians and romantic partners to more abstract subjects such as whether we can consciously decide to move our fingers.

The counter-intuitive observations that Chris makes in the book include:
If you want someone to fancy you, wear red and meet them somewhere frightening.
When waitresses repeat customers' orders back to them instead of just saying 'yes' they receive bigger tips.
To reduce your shopping bill, start at the beer and snacks end of the store and work backwards.
If you sit someone in an upright chair when you give them good news they will be prouder of their achievements.
Having a picture of your family on your desk might make you work harder, but you'll be rattier when you get home!

Chris Paley shows us how we can understand ourselves and others better, by having a greater understanding of the way that the unconscious mind has an impact of the way we live our lives.

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Chris Paley

Dr Chris Paley has an MSci and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Unthink: Why You Don't Think The Way You Think You Think.

In Chris's view the greatest scientific leap of his generation is throwing off common-sense assumptions about the mind: what it's doing for us, why we have morals, and how we make decisions. This leaves scientists free to overturn millennia of fruitless theorising and truly explain why we are what we are and think what we think.

He has a wife, three blameless daughters and an imaginary, but mischievous, cat. Chris might believe himself to be thoroughly amoral, but his wife thinks him 'a good man'.

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