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

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Punishment can enhance performance, academics find

Mar 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 ...

Top Portuguese award goes to 2 US scientists

Jun 11, 2010

(AP) -- Two U.S. scientists have won a $1.3 million (euro1.07 million) award for their work in understanding how humans see, a Portuguese scientific foundation said Friday.

Recommended for you

Birthday matters for wiring-up the brain's vision centers

3 hours ago

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have evidence suggesting that neurons in the developing brains of mice are guided by a simple but elegant birth order rule that allows them to find ...

How is depression related to dementia?

23 hours ago

A new study by neuropsychiatric researchers at Rush University Medical Center gives insight into the relationship between depression and dementia. The study is published in the July 30, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the me ...

User comments