As a follow up to “5 Ways to Block Paralysis by Anaysis”, here is some interesting research in following your gut instinct from the Neuromarketing blog, in which Roger Dooley cites two experiments regarding consumer decision-making from Jonah Lehrer's book How We Decide. The two experiments revealed ”that consumers may suffer paralysis by analysis if they aren’t allowed to trust their guts when making buying decisions and this same principle applies when business leaders and managers don’t trust their instincts and ”freeze in the headlights”. Here are the basic revelations:
Experiment 1: The Jam-Tasters. One group of shoppers was asked to rate a range of jams and choose those with the best flavor. This group “rated the jams in a very similar order to the professionals” by simply letting their taste buds decide, Dooley reports. A second group was asked to rate the jams, and to explain their ratings and analyze their first impressions. The results? A miserable mess. “This extra thought process … seemed to jumble their choices,” Dooley says.
Experiment 2: The Art-Lovers. Another group of consumers was invited to choose a free poster to take home. The posters included reproductions of Van Gogh and Monet paintings as well as cat pictures. “The first group simply picked,” Dooley says, “and 90% chose one of the fine-art posters.” The second group was asked to rate the posters and explain their choices. This group split about 50-50 between choosing the fine art and the cat pictures. But here’s the kicker: “When the groups were [later] surveyed … 75% of those who took a cat poster regretted their choice,” he notes.
“No, your ‘gut’ isn’t always right,” Dooley concludes. “But it may make better choices more often than we give it credit for.”