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Should you trust your feelings?


Seven studies show that compared to people with lower trust in their feelings, those with higher trust in their feelings were better able to predict the outcome of a wide variety of future events, including (a) future movie successes, (b) the 2008 U.S. Democratic Presidential nominee, (c) the winner of American Idol, (d) movements of the Dow Jones Index, and even (e) the weather. The superiority of predictions under high trust in feelings held both when people were experimentally induced to trust or not trust their feelings and when people’s chronic tendency to trust or not trust their feelings was simply measured. It further appears that it is high trust in feelings that improves prediction accuracy rather than low trust in feelings that impairs it. 

Source: “Emotional Oracles: Trusting One’s Feelings Improves One’s Ability to Predict Future Outcomes” by Michel Tuan Pham & Leonard Lee, Columbia University 


Understanding the role of emotion in forming preferences is critical in helping firms choose effective marketing strategies and consumers make appropriate consumption decisions. In five experiments, participants made a set of binary product choices under conditions designed to induce different degrees of emotional decision processing. The results consistently indicate that greater reliance on emotional reactions during decision making is associated with greater preference consistency and less cognitive noise. Additionally, the results of a meta-analytical study based on data from all five experiments further show that products that elicit a stronger emotional response are more likely to yield consistent preferences.

Source: “In Search of Homo Economicus: Cognitive Noise and the Role of Emotion in Preference Consistency” from Journal of Consumer Research

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