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A new study showed that people tend to follow their gut feeling when making decisions.
According to researchers from the Ohio State University, many people are actually aware of which decision will work best. This runs counter to the belief that people usually do not choose the most favorable option because they cannot make calculated decisions. The researchers said that many people actually choose to ignore the best option and tend to rely on their instinct or past experiences instead.
For the study, the researchers asked participants to play a computer game in which identifying patterns could lead to big rewards. By tracking participants’ computer mouse movements, the researchers were able to see if they could pick up on those patterns. Based on data, 56 out of 57 participants were able to discern the pattern with the highest chance of success. However, this pattern was not foolproof; it only worked 60-90% of the time.
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that the pattern that gave the best rewards was followed by the participants only 20% of the time.
The study did not provide a concrete reason as to why people do not always choose the best option. However, one of its authors said that although most people are capable of making calculated decisions, making a choice based on one’s knowledge of a situation can take a lot of mental energy. As a result, people usually depend on whatever choice got them the highest reward most recently.