"Trust your gut." It’s a cliche we’ve all heard (and probably even expressed at one time or another), an exhortation to not overthink decisions in realms as diverse as business, sports, dating and politics.
But is it actually good advice?
In a new paper published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, a trio of British economists applied some brain power to the question of gut feelings and found that people who second-guess themselves make considerably worse decisions than those who stick with instinct. The researchers focused on prediction accuracy in sports betting but said their findings would apply in any realm where people have to make educated guesses about the future.
The economists gathered data on 150 users of a popular sports betting and prediction website. This was a representative sample of a subset of bettors vying to predict outcomes for all 380 soccer matches in the English Premiere League during the 2017/2018 season.
The final data set consisted of 57,000 individual predictions, each consisting of a user’s best guess of the final score of a given match. Users were allowed to issue score predictions and to revise those score predictions up to the minute the match started.
Revisions were infrequent: 6 percent of the predictions changed – with the typical user revising 15 out of 380 predictions – and most of those occurred within minutes of the initial forecast. The authors speculate that in such cases, users typed in a prediction and looked up some relevant information on the match before quickly changing their mind. But there also were a number of instances involving large segments of time – days, even weeks – between prediction and revision; such betters waited nearly two days, on average, to switch gears.
The researchers specifically wanted to know whether the revise
An old law enforcement saying is "trust your gut". It’s good advice and it seems science now agrees. Trust your gut troops! ~Dave E.