• Cover: November 26, 2014
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Decisions, Decisions

Should you trust your gut?

Page: 4 of 8
  • The Situation: The guy you've been dating for a few months asks you to meet him and his friends at a bar to watch a soccer game. The most you know about soccer is from kindergarten, when you were benched for kicking the ball into your own net. When you arrive, your boyfriend asks if you'd like to place a $5 bet on who will win the game. You're hesitant, but you go with your gut and choose the team that you've heard of.

    The Outcome: The team you chose wins. Your boyfriend, a huge fan, and all his friends chose the opposite team. They begrudgingly hand over the pot of money to you. Although they call your victory "beginner's luck," the choice you made was not necessarily purely based on chance. While the information at your disposal was limited, it was enough to make the correct decision

    Why? Because while your boyfriend was making his prediction based on a wide range of knowledge—as well as an emotional attachment to a certain team—you were using a very simple criteria: "Have I heard of that team?" If you had, then chances are it was because they had gained international recognition for being, well, better at the sport.

    "People who don't know anything about a sport who are asked to predict the outcome of an event are almost as good as fans of the team," explains Ayton. "You had less diagnostic information, but you were also less influenced by an agenda or a bias gleaned from conversations and media. Your ignorance allowed your intuition to shine."

Decisions, Decisions
Should you trust your gut?
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