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When to trust your gut: How instincts lead to better decisions

woman thinkingBy Stephanie Castillo for

If you’ve ever gone with your gut when making a decision—and gotten eye rolls from pragmatic friends in the process—take heart.

New findings in the Journal of Consumer Research give credibility to those of us who bring emotions into the decision-making equation. And the more we trust our emotions, the more likely it is that a decision will be the right one.

Researchers from Columbia Business School conducted eight studies where they compared people who trusted their feelings in making decisions and judgments—such as predicting who would win the NCAA championship or American Idol—with those who didn’t feel confident in their ability to correctly predict events. The results: Those who trusted their feelings were consistently more accurate than those who didn’t.

But before you take up shop on the corner and call yourself Madame Zelda, there is a caveat: You have to be somewhat knowledgeable about what you’re talking about. In other words, if you know less than nothing about the stock market, having all the confidence in the world still isn’t going to help you make a killing on Wall Street.

So what’s behind this instinct phenomenon? Keep reading to find out…

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