It’s often said that in making decisions, we tend to go with our gut, or follow our intuition. But psychological scientist Wim De Neys suggests that we use logic, too, when making decisions — and that logic and a gut feeling are not actually so different.

“That feeling you have, that there’s something fishy about the problem —we have a wide range of ways to measure that conflict,” De Neys said.

He points toward brain imaging he’s conducted when people are thinking about problems regarding logic and reasoning that they need to draw conclusions from. The images revealed that the part of the brain that deals with conflict is active during these kind of mental quandaries.

“They stick to their gut feeling and don’t do the logical thing, but they do sense that what they are doing is wrong,” he said.

De Neys proposes that this sense is an intuitive sense of logic, which he believes may help shed light on more complex decision-making, as well as help people make better decisions down the line.

“It’s important to know which component of the process is faulty [if you want to teach people to make better decisions],” De Neys said.

Source: Association for Psychological Science

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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