Scientific Proof That Your Gut Is Best At Making Decisions

There are two over-arching kinds of decision making. One requires research and careful thought as to probable outcomes. The other simply goes with the gut.

It may make sense to stick with the latter in matters of the heart, but a number of recent scientific studies show that in business, the inner voice working in concert with cold, hard information could lead to better decision making.The Gut is Faster Than the Mind

The Gut is Faster Than the Mind

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California tells us that it is important to pay attention to “somatic markers.” Originating in the insula (the island in the brain responsible for social emotions like pride or guilt) and the amygdala (which cues our response to threats), they send messages that something just feels right—or it doesn’t. The more you pay attention to the outcome of trusting your intuition in combination with facts, the better your future decision-making can become.

Further Questions

For those still on the fence about a current decision, Angela Jia Kim, cofounder of women entrepreneurs’ network Savor The Success, broke down her thought process for dissecting gut feelings in a previous interview:

  • “Do I feel good around this person or choice?”
  • “Does this person or situation give me or take my energy?”
  • “Do I feel empowered or disempowered?”
  • “Am I going toward an adventure or running from fear?”
  • “Am I listening to my lessons learned from the past?”
  • “Would I make the same choice if I had a million dollars in my pocket now?”
  • “Do I feel respected and valued?”
  • “Am I trying to control the situation or am I leaving room for expansion?”

From here, it’s just a matter of trusting both cognitive and emotional responses to figure out the right way to go.

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.