Ming the Mechanic:
'Sleeping on it' best for complex decisions

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 'Sleeping on it' best for complex decisions2006-02-18 14:13
by Flemming Funch

New Scientist:
Complex decisions are best left to your unconscious mind to work out, according to a new study, and over-thinking a problem could lead to expensive mistakes.

The research suggests the conscious mind should be trusted only with simple decisions, such as selecting a brand of oven glove. Sleeping on a big decision, such as buying a car or house, is more likely to produce a result people remain happy with than consciously weighing up the pros and cons of the problem, the researchers say.

Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with
Not a surprise, is it? But I guess it is good that science comes to terms with it. Particularly since science is largely a conscious mind activity.

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20 Feb 2006 @ 10:46 by Rich_S @ : This is so true!
Ahhh man, this is so true!

The key for me in the quote is being *happy* with your decision - I find that sleeping on a big decision I've made consciously either confirms it or sends me back to the drawing board. I always try to give any big problems time to sink in


27 May 2006 @ 11:26 by doojie : sleeping on it
I wonder if the unconscious or subconscious is like a "quantum" computer that can take both the "yes" and "no" together, rather than either "yes" or "no" like the standard computer. Similar, I suppose, to the particle/wave duality in quantum physics. In standard computer models, the very act of decision, or measurement, reduces data to "digital" bits, yet without measurement, electrons behave as waves that can exist in more than one place as a "wavicle".
"Reality", to the conscious mind, is the reduction of all phenomena to "yes/no", "either/or" decisions, while the unconscious sees all possibilities as waves or quanta that leads to one ultimate and correct decision. If that is the case, it is possible that the destruction or entropy involved in the usual process of sociopolitical decision making could be reduced significantly.  

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