Summary: Assertive people may be more confident in their choices, but that doesn’t mean they’re better at making decisions than the rest of us.
I’ve always been an indecisive person. what to wear, which menu item to choose, when to do household chores; Always think of scenarios, before committing to even the most trivial of options.
If this sounds like you, you’re certainly not unfamiliar: Many people struggle with these issues. Our new research may not be able to help you choose which restaurant to go to, but it may reassure you. Assertive people may be more confident in the choices they make, but they are no better than us at making decisions.
starting point for my last study In the differences between decisive and reluctant people, finding a reliable way to distinguish between participants was. Use my team Work Control ScaleA yes-or-no questionnaire about everyday choices and behaviors. For example, whether you get bored quickly after learning a new game.
this scale can reveal Whether the person is business or state oriented. Action oriented to People focus on work. They are more decisive and resilient and are more likely to carry out their intentions in the face of adversity.
state oriented People focus on their emotional state. They are indecisive, often struggling to stick to their choices and frequently letting go of commitments.
We surveyed a cohort of 723 participants, of whom we selected the 60 most work-oriented and 60 most state-oriented to participate in the main trials. Participants underwent a range of cognitive tasks, with low-risk options. For example, we tested their simple perception (whether a cloud of dots is moving left or right) and preference (which of the two snacks you prefer to eat).
we Compare the following Cognitive processes between the two groups:
- Evidence processing speed (how quickly you can get new information);
- Caution about decision-making (how much you need to know to stick to a choice);
- initial bias (how much the choice is affected by some prior knowledge);
- metacognitive sensitivity (how carefully you can judge the correctness of your choice);
- Metacognitive bias (how confident you are in your decision).
what we found
The only difference in the two groups, across all trials, was that the work-oriented people were more confident in their choices. There were no differences in accuracy, speed, caution, bias, or sensitivity. The action-oriented group was more confident, although not in any way better, faster, or more accurate.
Sure it can seem excessive, and at times exhausting, when you can’t even decide what to have for lunch. Indecisiveness can hinder our ability to pursue our goals. For example, exercise becomes difficult if every morning we guess ourselves and deliberately stay in bed.
But our research suggests that hesitant people are by no means worse at making choices. We can process the evidence as quickly as possible and harness prior knowledge as effectively as critical people (and careful thinking can pay off when making life-altering choices, like choosing a university or buying a home—even if that’s just a millennial issue in theory).
Being less or more confident in the choice made cannot affect the outcome. However it can affect the future. Country-oriented people are less confident about whether the choice is correct, which makes the pursuit of our goals much more challenging.
It’s easy to see how this can relate to things like preparing for an exam, practicing, or learning a new skill. If you have low confidence that you are making meaningful progress, this can discourage regular practice.
The reasons for this confidence gap have not yet been properly explained. But some research suggests a link with how people Regulating their emotions. This confidence gap may be why some people succeed while others don’t.
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