When to Trust Your Intuition and When to Doubt It?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Your brain is telling you he's hot and available, but your gut is urging you to run in the opposite direction. Which will it be? You can, in fact, trust your gut with the big choices, but your rational mind has its strengths as well. This handy guide shows exactly when your heart or your mind should have the upper hand.

You should go with your gut when you're:
**Making a Moral Decision

If you're good friends with a married couple and one of them is having an affair, do you tell the other spouse? "Moral judgments are a combination of intuitive gut reactions and reflection. Without your gut, you'd make arbitrary decisions", says Fiery Cushman, Ph.D., a researcher at Harvard University.
Strategy: When faced with a moral conundrum, weigh the practical facts but heed your inner monologue for the right decision.
**Second Guessing your Doctor
Doctors often overlook symptoms that don't fit with the usual model of a disease and often dismiss fears as paranoia, especially in healthy young men, says John Amory, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington.
Strategy: You're the only person who can "listen" to your body. If it's telling you something lurking, Dr. Amory recommends finding a specialist outside your primary doctor's group. It just may save your life.
**Playing a Game
In a Michigan State University study, expert chess players performed as well in "blitz chess" (a 5-minute version of chess) as they did in the traditional game. The takeaway: Over analyzing won't improve your performance.
Strategy: On a test or in a game, the choice that feels right is often correct, says Paul Slovic, Ph.D., president of Decision Research, a nonprofit group that studies human judgment and risk analysis. "That feeling you have is your intuition checking up on your analytic thinking".

You should go with your brain when you're:
**Hiring a Job Candidate
If the potential hire is agreeable and funny, your instincts are wired to choose him over an aloof candidate who's more qualified, says David Myers, Ph.D., author of "Intuition".
Strategy: You can't completely avoid your impression bias, but you can control it with structured interviews. Set questions and scaled ratings are three times better at predicting on-the-job success than informal talks, according to a study in Psychological Bulletin.
When it comes to money, your gut is often influenced by the herd mentally, says Myers. Take equity funds backed by sub prime loans. By definition,these are investments in borrowers who are poor risks, yet plenty of people raced to buy in-and now they're paying for it.
Strategy: Reason and analysis should guide most of your investing, leaving only a small window for hunches (economists agree some intuition is wise). But ignore the frenzied pack-and all things sub prime.
**Judging his Sincerity
You want to believe him when he says he'll never cheat on you again. But studies show that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior, despite what your gut is telling you.
Strategy: When a flaky friend asks for yet another loan or man says he's done playing the field, pack up and walk away. Your intuition to trust them in the past was faulty, so fight your gut and don't repeat the mistake, says Gary Klein,Ph.D., author of "The Power of Intuition".
Source: Woman's Journal

So what do you think? Trust your Gut or Use your Head?


Dhanamjaya January 9, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

This is a very interesting post and I think the pic of the 4 puzzle pieces fitting together for the whole synergy of a person living happily and successfully is the best way to look at it. I also prefer to replace the word gut with heart.

Fhaye January 11, 2009 at 3:30 AM  

I love this post. Keep on posting more interesting topics!

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