Growing up our teachers, friends, and family always gave the same advice when it came down to making decisions. Trust your gut. But is this actually true. I can name many times when I have gone with my gut and been horribly mistaken. So why does everyone still say this? Does it actually work?
There are actually two sides to this debate. There are many scholarly written articles about trusting your intuition that defend this case but there are also many that question this. After reading into it I personally do not believe in “trusting your gut.” It really depends on the situation but if I am taking a test, I do not think the best thing to do is to go with my first answer.
A study done in 2012 on the human decision processes said that gut intuitions are due to lack of awareness. When you know less about the situation you are in, going with your gut may not be the best decision. In this case you are more likely to be wrong. For example, if you were taking a test and were unsure of an answer, so you went with your first choice you may want to rethink this. Your intuition has a very good chance of being wrong. If you reread the question and look at it again and you see a different answer the chances are that one is the correct one. This is because the one you chose initially was due to your lack of awareness. After looking further into the question you now understand it more which will lead you towards the right answer. A different study from 1994 came to this conclusion after observing many students. They found that students are more likely to change their answer from a wrong to a right answer than a right to a wrong answer. Basically, the students who changed their answers tended to receive the better test score.
On the other hand in a 2011 study, researchers hooked up participants to a heart monitor and monitored their heart rate as they played a card game. They found that the winners of the game were the ones who listened to their heart rate, aka the ones that followed their gut. They say that intuition is an automatic process based off of beliefs, experiences, and memories. Trusting your gut does not require any deep thinking. In this article, they also describe your intuition (your gut feeling) as a sixth sense that we mistakenly we glance over. They say this sense gives us the ability to organize chunks of information in a given time and make a educated decision from that.
Overall, I think whether or not to trust your gut comes down to the situation that you are in. If you are being rushed and don’t have time to make a reasonable decision, going with your gut might be the right thing. But based on these two articles personally I do not believe in trusting your gut. I agree with the first study that gut decisions are based off of lack of awareness and cause people to make a random and impulsive decisions.