When it comes to decisions, go with your gut

New study says your instincts may be right.
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Jul 09, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Do you have trouble making up your mind? Are you one of those people who reverses work and life decisions only to realize you had it right the first time? There is now evidence showing that "gut instinct"—even in complex decision making—may be better than to returning to a question later, or "sleeping on it.”

Two recent studies concluded that decisions based on initial analysis of data resulted in the best outcomes. These independent experiments at Ohio University and the Free University of Brussels suggest that immediate, conscious thought leads to more correct choices than unconscious deliberation. Ohio University psychologist Daniel Lassiter found that people presented with information and then instantly distracted from the task at hand later make strong decisions based not on deliberation or unconscious processes, but on recalling initial feelings. Others who continue to think through choices wind up dwelling on the choices themselves as details of the actual information fade. Both studies demonstrated that valid opinions can be formed on the first assessment of a scenario.

So, next time you're hemming and hawing over what flavor of ice cream to order or the answer to that trivia question—oh yeah, or a complicated decision facing you in the exam room—remember to trust your instincts. They're probably right.