A recent article in the New Scientist describes a study where participants were given long descriptions of four cars to read.
Some of the cars were described using mostly positive terms and others using mostly negative terms. One group of people was then instructed to think about the cars for four minutes, while the other group spent that time solving anagrams. When the time was up, the participants had to name their choices for best car based on the descriptions they had read. Even though the first group had been actively thinking about the question, it was the second group who had to choose on the spot that consistently performed better at identifying the positively described cars.
So does this mean that when we make decisions at work, we are better off making a snap judgment than carefully considering our decision? Not quite. Rather it’s a reminder that even when we think we are being rational and have carefully thought through a problem, we can still make mistakes.
When you have an important decision to make, challenge all types of thinking – both fast and slow, question your motivations, and scrutinize all the data you have available to you.