You Can Train Your Brain to Make Better Impulse Decisions

Our current age calls for more and more snap decisions that don't allow for a proper and pragmatic assessment. The only way to deal with this is to adapt by training yourself to make better snap decisions.

In a world of hot and cold decision-making, things have really heated up in the past decade.


As Steven Cotler and Jamie Wheal explain at Forbes, hot cognition is a term used to describe the making of snap, impulse decisions without aid of a longer assessment period. Hot cognition involves an emotional factor in the face of high risk and pressure. Cold cognition, on the other hand, involves making calculated, pragmatic, and emotionless decisions.

Cotler and Wheal make an important note about the faults of hot cognition, which they say is now invoked much more prevalently than in years past:

"But here’s the thing—because hot cognition is automatic, it is often subject to bias and thus prone to error. We’ve been making more and more of these errors lately and they’ve been sending shockwaves through our society and economy."

Social media in general has rushed the decision times for entities facing difficult decisions -- just look at how sloppily certain NFL entities have performed lately with regard to player suspensions. Luckily, you don't have to be resigned to making dumb moves in the spur of the moment. That's because hot cognition can be trained through "risk rehearsals." For adventurous types, extreme and action sports such as snowboarding, surfing, and skydiving will pump the necessary adrenaline needed for decision test runs. For those a little more risk-averse, it's been found that the hot cognition can improve for players of video games such as first-person shooters that reward a heightened ability for impulse decisions.

The key is in placing yourself in tense situations and being cognizant of how you react. Sharpen these skills under test conditions and you'll be better off for it when the real crunch time begins.

For more on hot and cold cognition, keep reading at Forbes

Photo credit: ra2studio / Shutterstock

Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

(shutterstock)
Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less