Trust Your Gut…but Only Sometimes

When faced with decisions, we often follow our intuition—our self-described “gut feelings”—without understanding why. Our ability to make hunch decisions varies considerably: Intuition can either be a useful ally or it can lead to costly and dangerous mistakes. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that the trustworthiness of our intuition is really influenced by what is happening physically in our bodies.

“We often talk about intuition coming from the body—following our gut instincts and trusting our hearts”, says Barnaby D. Dunn, of the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, U.K., first author of the new paper. What isn’t certain is whether we should follow, or be suspicious of, what our bodies are telling us. And do we differ in the influence that our gut feelings have on how we make decisions?

To investigate how different bodily reactions can influence decision making, Dunn and his co-authors asked study participants to try to learn how to win at a card game they had never played before. The game was designed so that there was no obvious strategy to follow and instead players had to follow their hunches. While playing the game, each participant wore a heart rate monitor and a sensor that measured the amount of sweat on their fingertips.

Most players gradually found a way to win at the card game and they reported having relied on intuition rather than reason. Subtle changes in the players’ heart rates and sweat responses affected how quickly they learned to make the best choices during the game.

Interestingly, the quality of the advice that people’s bodies gave them varied. Some people’s gut feelings were spot on, meaning they mastered the card game quickly. Other people’s bodies told them exactly the wrong moves to make, so they learned slowly or never found a way to win. 

Dunn and his co-authors found this link between gut feelings and intuitive decision making to be stronger in people who were more aware of their own heartbeat. So for some individuals being able to ‘listen to their heart’ helped them make wise choices, whereas for others it led to costly mistakes. 

“What happens in our bodies really does appear to influence what goes in our minds. We should be careful about following these gut instincts, however, as sometimes they help and sometimes they hinder our decision making,” says Dunn.

Comments

I agree that heartbeats are more accurate, howeveri was wondering if i could possibly contact someone to describe what i feel, many people think im crazy until i prove them wrong… but the thing is i cannot understand how it works or how to interpret, i feel things before their occurrence, mostly in numbers or simple an intuition.

Here is a big problem. I don’t know how this idea of “gut feeling” started, but it should stop. Intuition is not a feeling, it is a mental process that is more closely related to reason than to feelings. Throughout history, our greatest thinkers have been unable to understand intuition, and yet you “scientists” have been repeating this idea that intuition is a feeling, so people continue to refer to it as such. Face it, you don’t know what intuition is, and continuing to call it something that it isn’t just continues to send people down the wrong path.

Call it what you will, intuition, gut instinct, whatever, but it’s a real thing.

A number of years ago my wife and I had gotten together with some friends. As we were leaving I saw my wife walking and talking with one of my close male friends. Like a bolt of lightening something hit me and I just KNEW. I’d had no suspicions prior to this, no signs, no clues.

I did a little digging and their (brief) affair was just starting. Eventually they both came clean, but the truth of the situation hit me when I wasn’t even looking for it.

Of course these instincts can be wrong. But I firmly believe that if you gut instinct is telling you something is fishy, at least give the situation some thought.

What I’ve learned is that cheaters think they’re much more clever than they are. They get lost in their little fantasy world and feel like the real world can’t touch them. If your gut is telling you something is amiss, look into it without accusing your spouse or partner of anything. And if/when you do, be prepared for many lies.

The truth will be found, eventually.

We have been married 24 years. It’ now a month now. I asked him if our sex life is over. He said definitely not and why would I even ask him that question. I say, it’s been a month and he comes back and say, you know I’ve been sick and that I could initiate it too. When I say I’ve try but you just don’t give me any kind of response act like you sleeping or come to bed really late. Their work hours have changed from the time they normally get off of working, now all of a sudden they’re coming home 2 or 3 hours later.

I been married 24 years.My husband has cheated thru then entire time.But still he loves me with all his heart.Can i believe that he loves me even though he has cheated?

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