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Who's in the Video
Sheena S. Iyengar is the inaugural S. T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School. She has earned an Innovation in the Teaching Curriculum[…]

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

Question: Is it better to make decisions rationally or go withrn your gut?

Sheena Iyengar:  We are often in society rntold to make decisions in one of two ways.  We’re either told "Use your rngut, just go with how you feel about it and let that guide you," or rnwe’re told to use reason–some very deliberative methodical process of rnpros and cons and really thinking it through.  Most of the time you rnshould use reason, there is no doubt about that because gut often makes rnus susceptible to lots of different biases, particularly if what you’re rndeciding is something that you really, that expertise can be brought to rnbear on it, there is a way in which you can align the odds, so then you rnshould really use reason.  About the only time our gut can truly rnoutperform our reason is if we truly have developed a kind of informed rnintuition. So that means the chess master or someone who has really rnthought about it and given themselves feedback on a particular activity rnfor at least 10,000 hours or more.  About the only question that we rnwould say and this is a big one in our lives that we would say you don’trn just use pure reason to decide the answer to is anything that affects rnyour happiness, because then gut and reason answer very different rnquestions. So gut tells you "How do I feel about this right now?"  It rndoesn’t tell me how I feel about it tomorrow or even a few minutes from rnnow.  It just tells me how I’m feeling right now.  Reason tells me, whenrn I do the pros and cons analysis, how I should feel about it right now rnand how I should feel about it in 10 years from now and so that the rnonly…  So for decisions about happiness you essentially need at least rnboth and probably even more than that, you probably also need to do rnanalysis that doesn’t involve yourself to get at the answer of what willrn make you happy in 10 years.