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: Report details benefits of investment in basic research

Related Stories

Measuring the value of science

Apr 16, 2015

Reports about the worthy contributions of science to national economies pop up regularly all around the world – from the UK to the US and even the developing world. ...

Skunk cabbage blooms are a stinky herald of spring

Apr 06, 2015

I love the smell of skunk in early spring. That sulfur smell tells me that the snow is melting, the sun is rising higher into the sky, and soon a carpet of wildflowers will paint the forest floor in white, ...

Recommended for you

Claims about the decline of the West are 'exaggerated'

8 hours ago

A new paper by Oxford researchers argues that some countries in Western Europe, and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now have birth rates that are now relatively close to replacement, that the underlying trend in ...

Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur discovered

16 hours ago

Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.