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Novel Study Unravels a New Dimension to Decision Making

by Medindia Content Team on February 18, 2006 at 5:37 PM
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Novel Study Unravels a New Dimension to Decision Making

Have you considered, the many occasions, when decisions have to be taken? While some may be trivial involving mundane matters, others, may mean higher stakes, even life and death. Remember if ever you have a difficulty over taking decisions, the best thing to do is sleep on it!

They say things have a way of settling down on their own. Perhaps this applies to decisions as well. It works like magic, when you allow the unconscious mind to take over from the conscious, sparking intuitive decisions that most often fit in well.

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The Journal Science has published the results of a new study that suggests the elevated satisfaction levels of unconscious deliberation over conscious deliberation, in providing answers or decisions.

According to the report, conscious deliberation is apt for regular and mundane choices. This may not apply for the big decisions. To prove the 'Deliberation without hypothesis" as this study is called, four investigators in the department of psychology at the University of Amsterdam, conducted some experiments amongst shoppers in several stores.
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To take an example, of a car-shopping experiment, the participants first absorbed information about the 'eligible' cars. When they were finished, they were immediately handed over a puzzle to solve. This ensured that the conscious mind was still active.

The finding reported that the group that worked on the puzzles took a decision with ease and satisfaction as compared to the group that was only weighing the facts using the conscious mind. Though, for simple decisions, conscious analysis was more than enough to satisfy. According to researchers, when you use your conscious mind, it may lead to poor decisions because the conscious mind is capable of using only a portion of the relevant information while the subconscious has a higher power to process more information, leading to sound decisions.

Author Dr Ap Dijksterhuis has said, "The take-home message is that when you have to make a decision, the first step should be to get all the information necessary for the decision.Once you have the information, you have to decide, and this is best done with conscious thought for simple decisions, but left to unconscious thought, to 'sleep on it', when the decision is complex."

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