Sunday, August 27, 2006


Trust your instincts: The conscious mind isn't much use in making hard decisions

Brain MRI Scan Amsterdam University Unconscious Mind (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)Do you really need that flat-pack wardrobe or would the foldaway futon be a better buy? Why not have lunch and think about it? Then you might need to choose between pickled herring or Swedish meatballs. Everywhere we are confronted with difficult choices. In Luke Rhinehart's novel The Dice Man, the eponymous hero makes all his decisions by rolling a dice. Few of us would trust to a life ruled by chance, so we tend to think carefully about the complex decisions (the wardrobe or the futon) but are content to trust our instincts with the simpler things (meatballs or herring). New research by Ap Dijksterhuis and his colleagues at the University of Amsterdam suggests that we would be better off thinking about the simple choices, and leaving the life-changing decisions to our unconscious mind.
See "On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect" Abstract | Full Text (pdf)

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Just a thought, but to see this subject covered in a very accessible and readable way, you might like to read 'Blink' by Malcolm Gladwell.

His approach is to accept that our subconscious reads those signs that may be too subtle or numerous for us to take in consciously, so those 'feelings' we sometimes get, favourable or otherwise, are always worth paying attention to.

How often, he might ask, did we know all along that something wasn't quite right?
Thank you for the commment and recommendation Roy. Its a very interesting topic and I have seen a reference to this book somewhere else recently.

For now, however, it'll have to go on my 'to do' list (heavy - but self-imposed - workload).

If anyone else is interested, info on the book can be found via these links: Amazon UK | US

John Latter / Jorolat
Evolution Research
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