Intuition alone can help you take right decisions: study
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According to a new study, participants made the right call up to 90 per cent of the time when forced to choose between two options based on instinct alone.
In a behavioural experiment, Professor Marius Usher of Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences and his fellow researchers found that intuition is a surprisingly powerful and accurate tool.
"Even at the intuitive level, an important part of the decision-making process is the integration of value that is, taking into account the positive and negative factors of each option to come up with an overall picture," Usher said.
"The study demonstrates that humans have a remarkable ability to integrate value when they do so intuitively, pointing to the possibility that the brain has a system that specialises in averaging value," Usher said in a statement.
This could be the operational system on which common decision-making processes are built.
Researchers designed an experiment to put participants through a carefully controlled decision-making process. On a computer screen, participants were shown sequences of pairs of numbers in quick succession.
All numbers that appeared on the right of the screen and all on the left were considered a group; each group represented returns on the stock market.
Participants were asked to choose which of the two groups of numbers had the highest average. Because the numbers changed so quickly - two to four pairs were shown every second - the participants were unable to memorise the numbers or do proper mathematical calculations.
To determine the highest average of either group, they had to rely on "intuitive arithmetic".
The participants were able to calculate the different values accurately at exceptional speed, the researchers found.
They were also able to process large amounts of data – in fact, their accuracy increased in relation to the amount of data they were presented.
When shown six pairs of numbers, for example, the participants chose accurately 65 per cent of the time. But when they were shown 24 pairs, the accuracy rate grew to about 90 per cent.
"Intuitively, the human brain has the capacity to take in many pieces of information and decide on an overall value," Usher said.
He said that gut reactions can be trusted to make a quality decision.