Do we always make better decisions when we take more time to think?

March 28, 2013

A study led by Zachary Mainen, Director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, and published today (March 28) in the scientific journal, Neuron, reports that when rats were challenged with a series of perceptual decision problems, their performance was just as good when they decided rapidly as when they took a much longer time to respond. Despite being encouraged to slow down and try harder, the subjects of this study achieved their maximum performance in less than 300 milliseconds.

'There are many kinds of decisions, and for some, having more time appears to be of no help. In these cases, you'd better go with your intuition, and that's what our subjects did', explains Zachary Mainen, the neuroscientist who led this study, while an Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in the USA.

This study suggests that rats can be used as an to investigate what is happening in the when 'intuitive' decisions are being made. 'Decision-making is not a well-understood process, but it appears to be surprisingly similar among species. This study provides a basis to begin to take apart one type of decision and see how it really works', the author adds.

More research in this area is now being conducted at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, in Lisbon

Explore further: Rats match humans in decision-making that involves combining different sensory cues: study

Related Stories

Punishment can enhance performance, academics find

March 13, 2013

The stick can work just as well as the carrot in improving our performance, a team of academics at The University of Nottingham has found. A study led by researchers from the University's School of Psychology, published recently ...

Recommended for you

Oligodendrocytes induce motor neuron death in ALS

September 27, 2016

A first-of-its-kind oligodendrocyte in vitro model shows that human cells normally supportive of motor neuron function play an active role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathogenesis – and this discovery may point the ...

The language of senses

September 26, 2016

Sight, touch and hearing are our windows to the world: these sensory channels send a constant flow of information to the brain, which acts to sort out and integrate these signals, allowing us to perceive the world and interact ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.