EducationGuardian.co.uk | Research | Johnjoe McFadden: The conscious mind isn't much use in making hard decisions: "
Trust your instincts
The evidence seems to be that the conscious mind isn't much use in making hard decisions
Saturday August 26, 2006
Do you really need that flat-pack wardrobe or would the foldaway futon be a better buy? Why not have lunch and think about it? Then you might need to choose between pickled herring or Swedish meatballs. Everywhere we are confronted with difficult choices. In Luke Rhinehart's novel The Dice Man, the eponymous hero makes all his decisions by rolling a dice. Few of us would trust to a life ruled by chance, so we tend to think carefully about the complex decisions (the wardrobe or the futon) but are content to trust our instincts with the simpler things (meatballs or herring). New research by Ap Dijksterhuis and his colleagues at the University of Amsterdam suggests that we would be better off thinking about the simple choices, and leaving the life-changing decisions to our unconscious mind."