Should You Go With Your Gut?

Question: Is it better to make decisions rationally or go with\r\n your gut?

Sheena Iyengar:  We are often in society \r\ntold to make decisions in one of two ways.  We’re either told "Use your \r\ngut, just go with how you feel about it and let that guide you," or \r\nwe’re told to use reason–some very deliberative methodical process of \r\npros and cons and really thinking it through.  Most of the time you \r\nshould use reason, there is no doubt about that because gut often makes \r\nus susceptible to lots of different biases, particularly if what you’re \r\ndeciding is something that you really, that expertise can be brought to \r\nbear on it, there is a way in which you can align the odds, so then you \r\nshould really use reason.  About the only time our gut can truly \r\noutperform our reason is if we truly have developed a kind of informed \r\nintuition. So that means the chess master or someone who has really \r\nthought about it and given themselves feedback on a particular activity \r\nfor at least 10,000 hours or more.  About the only question that we \r\nwould say and this is a big one in our lives that we would say you don’t\r\n just use pure reason to decide the answer to is anything that affects \r\nyour happiness, because then gut and reason answer very different \r\nquestions. So gut tells you "How do I feel about this right now?"  It \r\ndoesn’t tell me how I feel about it tomorrow or even a few minutes from \r\nnow.  It just tells me how I’m feeling right now.  Reason tells me, when\r\n I do the pros and cons analysis, how I should feel about it right now \r\nand how I should feel about it in 10 years from now and so that the \r\nonly…  So for decisions about happiness you essentially need at least \r\nboth and probably even more than that, you probably also need to do \r\nanalysis that doesn’t involve yourself to get at the answer of what will\r\n make you happy in 10 years. 

About the only time our gut impulse can outperform our reason is if we have developed some kind of truly informed intuition.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Why are women are more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less