Why You Should Follow Your Heart, Little Lambs

Illustration for article titled Why You Should Follow Your Heart, Little Lambs

I like to make fun of science (lovingly!) for incessantly pumping out studies on human behavior—women don't like trying on bathing suits, nice people get more jobs, etc.—but, in my secret heart, I am in love with that shit. Because, taken as a whole, it all points to the extremely unscientific conclusion that everyone is different and sometimes people can't be classified. And how reassuring is that? We don't know shit about humans, so we should probably stop judging other humans. "New study finds that life is confusing and difficult." Awww, I know! Hold me, science.

Like this study, published in Psychological Science, which finds that people are just as good at making high-level decisions (like where to put your money when you're investing) as they are at low-level decisions (like where to put your foot when you're walking). So follow your 'stincts, people!

After spending time becoming familiar with the tasks, participants were given a fixed amount of time to complete as many or few trials as they liked. "Doing lots of trials very quickly might not be the best approach since the less time you spend on the task the greater the chance of an error. But spending a lot of time on very few trials might also be a bad idea since you limit the number of points you could possibly earn. The trick is finding the right balance between the two."

It turned out that people were good at finding the right balance. "It didn't seem to matter whether people were doing a low-level or a high-level task-they were equally good at deciding how much time to spend on these tasks," Jarvstad said. In fact, their participants ended up with nearly the same amount of money they would have earned if they had in fact made perfect decisions – and that was true for low- as well as high-level tasks.


It's so reassuring and humbling to remember that my subconscious mind knows more than my conscious mind (thank GOD someone is holding this shit down)—like there's a smarter me inside the regular me who probably thinks the regular me is fucking dumb. Thanks, brain. I wish subconscious me could do my taxes.

Essentially, this is science endorsing your guts. And not to go out on a limb here, but I find the validation of that kind of straightforward sincerity really comforting. "Go with your gut!" "Do what makes you happy!" "Treat others how you want to be treated!" Maybe it means that I'm becoming hella elderly, but the older I get the more I'm in love with corny cliches, and the more I believe in them. Science fact: being cool is exhausting. I just want to be nice.

Photo credit: MikhailMishchenko / Stockfresh.

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I like to make fun of science... Like this study, published in Psychological Science