Should I go with my gut? Investigating the benefits of emotion-focused decision making

Emotion. 2011 Aug;11(4):743-53. doi: 10.1037/a0023986.


Deliberative decision strategies have historically been considered the surest path to sound decisions; however, recent evidence and theory suggest that affective strategies may be equally as effective. In four experiments we examined conditions under which affective versus deliberative decision strategies might result in higher decision quality. While consciously focusing on feelings versus details, participants made choices that varied in complexity, in extent of subsequent conscious deliberation allowed, and in domain. Results indicate that focusing on feelings versus details led to superior objective and subjective decision quality for complex decisions. However, when using a feeling-focused approach, subsequent deliberation after encoding resulted in reduced choice quality. These results suggest that affective decision strategies may be more effective relative to deliberative strategies for certain complex decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect
  • Cognition
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intuition / physiology
  • Male
  • Young Adult