100 Things You Should Know About People: #25 — Trust Your Gut or Be Logical? It Depends On Your Mood

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Photo Credit: Katie Ricard

In a previous post on how mood affects your reaction to brands you know (see You Are Most Affected By Brands And Logos When You Are Sad And Scared), I talked about the research from Marieke de Vries of Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. De Vries also did research on two types of decision making: a trusting -your- gut intuitive method vs. following a logical, deliberative decision-making process of weighing alternatives and thinking through pros and cons. De Vries was interested in whether one method of decision-making was better than another, and also whether your mood affected the outcome of the decision.

When to use deliberative decision-making — Research by Dijksterhuis shows that when you have simple decision to make you make better decisions when you use a logical deliberative method.

When to use intuitive decision-making — Research by Shiv shows that when you have a complicated decision to make, you make better decisions when you use an intuitive or “gut” method.

Where does mood fit in? — De Vries went further with the research to see if mood had an effect, and found that when you are in a happy mood you rely on your gut instincts more, AND the outcome is that you make better decisions. When you are in a sad mood you rely on your logical decision making AND you make better decisions as a result.

Take-aways — If you are in a good mood and/or are making a complicated decision it is best to trust your intuition. If you are in a bad mood and/or are making a simple decision then use a more deliberative process.

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3 comments on “100 Things You Should Know About People: #25 — Trust Your Gut or Be Logical? It Depends On Your Mood
  1. Your analysis is so succinct and from my experience so true. It seems like for most of us we only have a certain number of really big decisions to make in life, such as taking a job offer in a place we don’t like versus going to place we like but with no prospects for work, or staying in a relationships that our cultural influences support, but our heart does not, or deciding whether to use most of one’s resources for the “big gamble,” versus a steady as she goes approach. Sandy

  2. D. K. says:

    This article is giving contradictory information.

  3. Tina Derby says:

    Love this information! I’m very excited to keep reading through all this great brain-related information!

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