Going with Your Gut
Decision-making is an inevitable part of the human experience, and one of the most mysterious. For centuries, scientists have studied how we go about the difficult task of choosing A or B, left or right, North or South — and how both instinct and intellect figure into the process. Now new research indicates that the old truism “look before you leap” may be less true than previously thought.
In a behavioral experiment, Prof. Marius Usher of Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences and his fellow researchers found that intuition was a surprisingly powerful and accurate tool. When forced to choose between two options based on instinct alone, the participants made the right call up to 90 percent of the time.
The results of their study were recently published in the journal PNAS.
The only problem here is that when I clicked through to read the journal article, this is the opener:
Human choice behavior exhibits many paradoxical and challenging patterns. Traditional explanations focus on how values are represented, but little is known about how values are integrated. Here we outline a psychophysical task for value integration that can be used as a window on high-level, multiattribute decisions. Participants choose between alternative rapidly presented streams of numerical values. By controlling the temporal distribution of the values, we demonstrate that this process underlies many puzzling choice paradoxes, such as temporal, risk, and framing biases, as well as preference reversals. These phenomena can be explained by a simple mechanism based on the integration of values, weighted by their salience. The salience of a sampled value depends on its temporal order and momentary rank in the decision context, whereas the direction of the weighting is determined by the task framing. We show that many known choice anomalies may arise from the microstructure of the value integration process.”
Now, it’s true that I’m sometimes an impatient person, and it’s also true that I have a strong bias towards speaking and writing in English, when addressing English speakers. But i just don’t understand how it’s come to this, that someone believes that an idea is well communicated by the paragraph above.