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'Intuition helps you make right decision'

The best way to take an important decision is to listen to your intuition or gut feeling, says a study.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 11:55 IST

The best way to take an important decision is to listen to your intuition or gut feeling, according to a new research.

Many people assume that the best way to tackle a difficult choice is to list the pros and cons and ponder them deeply. Others believe we do better to sleep on it, leaving the decision-making to our unconscious, or intuition.

A team of researchers at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, carried out a series of studies to distinguish between these ideas. In one experiment, university students read a list of features about four different cars, such as facts on their mileage and legroom, before deciding which car to pick.

The experiment was set so that some students were presented with a short list of features, making for a simple decision, while others faced a bafflingly long list of 12 competing characteristics. Some students were left to think about their decisions for a few minutes, whereas others were distracted by being asked to solve anagrams.

For the simple decisions, students made better choices when they thought consciously about the problem. But for the more complex choice, they did better after not thinking about it,Ap Dijksterhuis and his colleagues report in Science.

These results confirmed the earlier ones. Department-store shoppers who made simple purchases were happier if they had thought consciously about their choice in advance. IKEA shoppers, on the other hand, were happier with their choice if they hadn't mulled them over.

At least when making some complicated decisions, such as choosing a car or house, the results suggest that we would actually do better to go with our gut.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 10:30 IST