Friday, 16 September 2011

Is the Left or Right Brain Best At Making Quick Decisions?

Common sense suggests that people who have a preference for making decisions in a logical, pragmatic and evidence based way (known in pop psychology as being "left brained") would be better at making quick decisions than those who tend to act based on their emotions and feelings ("right brained").

Psyblog reporting on research by Mikels et al. (2011) suggests that:
...trying to work out the details, using the emotions led to much better outcomes. In one of the studies the number of participants getting the right answer went up from only 26% in the detail-focused condition to 68% in the feeling-focused condition.
This is fascinating from an HR perspective.  For example, what does it mean for talent managers and does it suggest that competency models should be changed for decision maker positions to seek out and develope right brained leaders? As ever with human interactions this is likely to be more compex in reality than it is in theory.

Whilst the evidence seems to be compelling, can you imagine trusting a right brained fighter pilot to make the right decisions in the heat of the moment or would you be happy with an emotion based trader dealing with your investments in a complex market?  My gut reaction says NO - and this research seems to suggest that I'd be right!


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