How to Make Better Choices

Authors: Kate Douglas, Dan Jones

Publication: New Scientist

Year: 2007

Focus Area: Decision Making, Prevention

Relevance: This article draws from scientific research to provide a brief introduction to factors that influence decision making in everyday life.

Summary: Everyday decision making draws on emotion and rational (cognitive) thought. Recent research from psychologists and neuroscientists can provide insight into these processes and yield ten pointers to help people make better decisions and feel happier about the results of their choice.

  • In a number of cases, additional information, time or options only made decision making more difficult.
  • Emotions have a variety of influences on decision making. For example, anger can lead to riskier choices, while disgust can promote caution.
  • This article includes explanations in layman’s terms of a number of important psychological terms, including framing, loss aversion, affective forecasting and confirmation bias.

Author Abstract: This article looks at the science behind being able to make better decisions. The author outlines several concepts designed to help you make better decisions. These concepts include going with your gut instinct, considering your emotions, staying focused on the topic, not getting upset over small inconveniences, taking a different perspective, being aware of social pressure and having someone else make the decision for you.

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