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Think You're Operating on Free Will? Think Again

Studies have found that people talk more softly when there is a picture of a library on the wall and they keep their desks tidier when there is a scent of cleaning agent in the air. But they are not consciously aware of the influence of their environment.

There are few things more fundamental to human identity than the belief that human behavior is determined by conscious choices. But recently psychologists have compiled an impressive body of research that shows how deeply decisions and behavior are swayed by stimuli beyond your immediate comprehension.

In an intriguing review in the journal Science, researchers presented the mounting evidence of the power of the "unconscious will."

According to Times Magazine:

“It is not only that people's actions can be influenced by unconscious stimuli; our desires can be too ... at least when it comes to unhealthy food, policymakers are beginning to understand that ‘personal choice’ may be a weak counter to heavy advertising.”

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