Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

People Don’t Just Think with Their Guts; Logic Plays a Role Too

30.12.2011
For decades, science has suggested that when people make decisions, they tend to ignore logic and go with the gut.

But Wim De Neys, a psychological scientist at the University of Toulouse in France, has a new suggestion: Maybe thinking about logic is also intuitive. He writes about this idea in the January issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Psychologists have partly based their conclusions about reasoning and decision-making on questions like this one:

“Bill is 34. He is intelligent, punctual but unimaginative and somewhat lifeless. In school, he was strong in mathematics but weak in social studies and humanities.

Which one of the following statements is most likely?

(a) Bill plays in a rock band for a hobby.

(b) Bill is an accountant and plays in a rock band for a hobby.”

Most people will let their stereotypes about accountants rule and pick (b). But, in fact, we have no idea what Bill does for a living—he could be a politician, a concert pianist, or a drug dealer—so it’s more likely that only one random possibility, the rock band, is true, than that both (a) and (b) would happen to be true.

This line of research has suggested that people don’t use logic when making decisions about the world. But the truth is more complicated, De Neys says. When most people read a question like the one above, there’s a sense that something isn’t quite right. “That feeling you have, that there’s something fishy about the problem—we have a wide range of ways to measure that conflict,” De Neys says. For example, he has shown with brain imaging that when people are thinking about this kind of problem, a part of their brain that deals with conflict is active. “They stick to their gut feeling and don’t do the logical thing, but they do sense that what they are doing is wrong,” De Neys says.

De Neys thinks this sense, that something isn’t quite right with the decision you’re making, comes from an intuitive sense of logic. Other scientists have found that children start thinking logically very early. In one study, 8-month-old babies were surprised if someone pulled mostly red balls out of a box that contained mostly white balls, proof that babies have an innate sense of probability before they can even talk. It makes sense, De Neys says, that this intuitive sense of logic would stick around in adults.

This research deals with the basics of how we think, but De Neys says it may help explain more complex decision-making. If you want to teach people to make better decisions, he says, “It’s important to know which component of the process is faulty.” For example, if you want to understand why people are smoking, and you think it’s because they don’t understand the logic—that smoking kills—you might put a lot of energy into explaining how smoking is bad for them, when the actual problem is addiction. It’s a long way from a question about Bill’s career to understanding something like why someone decides to get married, for example; but research like this should help,” De Neys says.

For more information about this study, please contact: Wim De Neys at wim.deneys@univ-tlse2.fr

Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>