You Should Really Think This Through: Cross-Domain Variation in Preferences for Intuition and Deliberation

AbstractDecisions are often better when pursued after deliberation and careful thought. So why do we so often eschew deliberation, and instead rely on more intuitive, gut responses? We suggest that in addition to well-recognized factors (such as the costs of deliberation), people hold normative commitments concerning how decisions ought to be made. In some cases (e.g., when choosing a romantic partner), relying on deliberation (over intuition) could be seen as inauthentic or send a problematic social signal. In Experiment 1 (N = 654), we show that people in fact hold such domain-sensitive processing commitments, that they are distinct from reported descriptive tendencies, and that they contribute to predicting reported choice. In Experiment 2 (N = 555), we show that choosing intuitively vs. deliberately supports different inferences concerning confidence and authenticity, with the domain variation in inferences in Experiment 2 closely tracking the domain variation in normative commitments observed in Experiment 1. In Experiment 3 (N = 1002), we rule out an alternative explanation. These findings inform theories of judgment and decision-making, as well as efforts towards improving decision-making through critical thinking.

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