Study examines decision behavior in different areas of daily life: Jeans or trousers? A notebook or a tablet? Conventional or alternative medicine? Do people make these kinds of decisions based on knowledge or on intuition? And is there such a thing as purely rational or purely intuitive decision makers? These questions were addressed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.
Whether we make everyday decisions based on our gut or our reason has little to do with what kind of a decision maker we are. Instead, the content of the decision plays a big role, as does whether we are knowledgeable in the particular subject. These were the results of a study by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel.
As the study shows, we tend to decide on clothing, restaurants, and choice of partners intuitively, whereas our decisions in areas such as medicine, electronics, and holidays are apt to be knowledge-based.
"For that reason it's inaccurate to speak of rational or intuitive decision makers, as is often done", says Thorsten Pachur, first author of the study and researcher at the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Instead, people prefer one or the other type of decision based on the topic in question. This is entirely independent of sex; the assumption that women are more likely than men to make gut decisions was not confirmed.
For their study, the researchers questioned 149 students with an average age of 25.8 years, 102 of whom were female. First, the subjects were asked how they generally make decisions, that is, whether they tend to decide intuitively or based on knowledge.
In addition, they were asked to state how they would tackle decisions in specific areas of daily life: partner selection, clothing, restaurants, medicine, electronics, and holidays. Finally, the participants estimated their own expertise in each area on a scale of one to five.
The results make it clear that the extent to which a person prefers to make a gut decision or a rational one depends on the subject at hand. Someone who is a rational decision maker in one area may well be an intuitive decision maker in another. The favored type of decision depends on how one estimates one's own competence in that area. If people do not consider themselves an expert in an area, they prefer to base their choice on knowledge. "But if we have a lot of experience in a certain area, then we tend to rely on gut feelings for such decisions," Thorsten Pachur explains. "This could also mean that older people, as a result of their greater amount of experience, are more likely to make gut decisions than younger people."
Pachur, T., & Spaar, M. (2015). Domain-specific preferences for intuition and deliberation in decision making. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin was founded in 1963. It is an interdisciplinary research institution dedicated to the study of human development and
education. The Institute belongs to the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, one
of the leading organizations for basic research in Europe.
Kerstin Skork | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences