Science Of Intuiton: When Should We Trust Our Gut Instinct?

First Posted: Nov 21, 2016 03:20 AM EST

When making difficult decisions, people are often confused on whether they should follow their gut instinct or not. There are times when they realize it is better rely on their intuition and ignore rational thinking. But there are situations that also require careful deliberation.

In a video titled Should You Trust Your Gut Instinct?, AsapSCIENCE host Mitchell Moffit talks about our brain processes when faced with both choices through fast and slow thinking. According to research, situations involving immediate pattern recognition, habit formation and automatic behaviors -- which apparently consist our gut instincts -- are triggered by the brain's basal ganglia (System 1), while matters like Math problems, simple product purchases and empathy are best solved in using the cortex (System 2) -- the part of the brain responsible for analytical and conscious thoughts.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has proven that System 1 could recognize the right answer before System 2. Although 75 percent of the participants failed to recognize their own voice in a recording with many other voices in succession, their levels of skin conductance went on higher measure upon hearing their own voice. This suggests that the participants have ignored their intuition that unconsciously knew the correct answer.

Following our intuition, however, does not work when it comes to understanding and interpreting the feelings of others.

According to a study of 900 participants, those who took the time for systematic thinking or careful deliberation of information succeeded in making the right decision than those who immediately went for what they felt was right.

"Relying on our past experiences is essentially how our intuition is formed, which has helped our ancestors determine friend from foe," the video concluded. "However, we were given two systems of thinking -- fast and slow -- and we recommend it's best to follow them both."

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