Thinking too hard may not help

Feb 17, 2006

Complicated decisions might be best left to the unconscious mind because thinking too hard may lead to bad choices, a Dutch study found.

Ap Dijksterhuis, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, said conscious thinkers were better able to make the best choice among simple products, whereas unconscious thinkers were better able to make the best choice among complex products, the Guardian reported Friday.

The problem with thinking about things consciously is that you can only focus on a few things at once, so when in the face of a complex decision this can lead to giving certain factors undue importance and thinking about something several times is also likely to produce slightly different evaluations, highlighting inconsistencies, according to the study published in Science.

Dijksterhuis said that when he has to make an important decision he gathers together the relevant facts and gives it all of his attention at first.

Then "I sit on things and rely on my gut," he told Science.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Once-soaring tech stocks sink in sobering comedown

Apr 12, 2014

The stock market's laws of gravity are ravaging its highest fliers. Just look at the list of technology trailblazers whose values have plummeted from record highs during the past few weeks. Investors have re-focused on safer ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

20 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

23 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...