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Is Emotion Smarter than Rationality?

March 4, 2012, 11:00 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

The uncanny processing power of the subconscious has been brought into further light. A survey conducted at Columbia Business School, which asked people to make predictions about events ranging from a political election to American Idol results, found that emotional reactions proved more prophetic than steelier evaluations. In another experiment, emotions did better at evaluating stocks by processing financial data better than number crunchinga good feeling was associated with rising companies and a bad feeling with falling companies. 

What's the Big Idea?

We are used to condemning our emotions for getting in the way of our better judgement, calling the heart a foolish thing and remarking on crimes of passion. It turns out we may have been selling ourselves short all along. "The unconscious brain is able to process vast amounts of information in parallel, thus allowing it to analyze large data sets without getting overwhelmed. (Human reason, in contrast, has a very strict bottleneck and can only process about four bits of data at any given moment.)" Not quite omniscient, our emotions are imperfect oracles. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

 

 

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