We spend a significant chunk of our lives trying to make up our minds. Small college or large college? Organic or not organic? Boxers or briefs? We like to think we're masters of deliberation, but supposedly fail-safe decision-making techniques (e.g., ask a close confidante) may backfire, while counterintuitive tricks (think in another language!) can help us reach wiser conclusions.
Two heads are not always better than one. Making up your mind collaboratively with a friend or spouse might seem like the best way to consider more perspectives, but the opposite is true: Joint decision-making (in groups of two) makes people more likely to reject outside information, finds a recent study in Psychological Science. Individuals tend to consider input from others more carefully than pairs do, leading to better decision-making overall.
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Do you find yourself making decisions based on emotion instead of logic? Try thinking in a non-native tongue, which researchers suggest might facilitate emotional distance. In a recent Psychological Science study, when participants had to assess risks—e.g., keep one dollar now or flip a coin to earn $1.50—they made smarter choices when the problem was presented in a language in which they were proficient but not fluent.