Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Instinctive Decisions Are Superior to Logic

Source: ScienceAGoGo

A University College London (UCL) study has found that you are more likely to perform well if you do not think too hard and instead trust your instincts. Appearing in the journal Current Biology, the research shows that instinctive snap decisions are sometimes more reliable than decisions taken using higher-level cognitive processes.

The experiment involved subjects picking the odd symbol (a rotated version) out of over 650 identical symbols presented on a computer screen. Tracking participants' eye movements, the researchers controlled the time allotted to each individual's search for their target. The visual display screen was switched off at various time intervals either before or after the subjects' eyes landed on the target (between 0 and 1.5 seconds). They then had to decide whether the odd one out was on the left or the right-hand side of the screen.

Intriguingly, the researchers found that participants scored better if they were given no scrutinizing time at all. With only a tiny fraction of a second for scrutinizing the target, subjects performed with 95 percent accuracy. With over a second to scrutinize the image, subjects were only 70 percent accurate. Accuracy was recovered if scrutinizing was allowed to run for more than 4 seconds.


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