Trust your gut: Too much thinking leads to bad choices
Don't think too much before purchasing that new car or television. According
to a new study in the
Journal of Consumer Research, people who deliberate
about decisions make less accurate judgments than people who trust their
"Whether evaluating abstract objects (Chinese ideograms) or actual consumer
items (paintings, apartments, and jellybeans), people who deliberated on their
preferences were less consistent than those who made non-deliberative
judgments," write authors Loran F. Nordgren (Northwestern University) and Ap
Dijksterhuis (Radboud University, The Netherlands).
In five separate studies, the researchers found that better judgments can
often be made without deliberation. In the first study, participants rated
Chinese ideograms for attractiveness. In a following study, participants were
asked to judge paintings that were widely considered high- or low-quality.
Subsequent groups of participants rated jellybeans and apartments. In all the
studies, some participants were encouraged to deliberate and others to go with
The more complex the decision, the less useful deliberation became. For
example, when participants rated apartments on just three primary
characteristics (location, price, and size) deliberation proved useful. But when
the decision became more complex (with nine characteristics) the participants
who deliberated made worse decisions.
The authors believe this study has consequences for the marketplace. "If
deliberative attention naturally gravitates toward highly salient or novel
aspects of an object, marketers might use a deliberative mindset to focus
consumers' attention toward particular aspects," explain the authors.
"For example, if a car boasts one particularly good feature (for example,
safety) but has a number of other negative features (for example, expensive, bad
gas mileage, poor handling), a car salesman might encourage a potential car
buyer to deliberate over the pros and cons of the car, while at the same time
emphasizing the importance of safety. In this way, the disturbed weighting of
attributes created by deliberation might be used to highlight the one sellable
feature and draw attention away from the unattractive features," write the
Loran F. Nordgren and Ap Dijksterhuis. "The Devil Is in the Deliberation:
Thinking too Much Reduces Preference Consistency."
Journal of Consumer
Research: June 2009.
Disclaimer: What's published on this website should be considered opinions of respective writers only and foodconsumer.org which has no political agenda nor commercial ambition may or may not endorse any opinion of any writer. No accuracy is guaranteed although writers are doing their best to provide accurate information only.
The information on this website should not be construed as medical advice and should not be used to replace professional services provided by qualified or licensed health care workers. The site serves only as a platform for writers and readers to share knowledge, experience, and information from the scientific community, organizations, government agencies and individuals.
Foodconsumer.org encourages readers who have had medical conditions to consult with licensed health care providers - conventional and or alternative medical practitioners.