According to a new study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, if you distract yourself for a few minutes before a big decision, you'll make a better one.


Study leader J. David Creswell, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, says that's because even when we're distracted, the part of the brain responsible for learning information continues to be active. "Your conscious mind has a capacity constraint—it can only think about a couple of features at once," he says. "But your unconscious mind doesn't have these capacity constraints. It can weigh all relevant information more effectively."

Researchers described the features of four different cars to 27 adults. Then they separated the study participants into three groups: One group evaluated the cars right away, the second group rated the cars after thinking about the pros and cons, and the third group rated the cars after performing a distracting math-memory task. In the end, the distracted group chose the most wisely.


If becoming a mathlete isn't your preferred distraction, try screaming along to "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" or hopping in the sack with a hottie. (Or a nottie — whatever you're into!) However, since it only takes two minutes to properly distract yourself for superior decision making, maybe a vibrator is a better call? Either way, time to decide on some major life choices. Go!

[Body Odd]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter