Did You Know?

Why shouldn’t we make big decisions on an empty stomach? And why is the animal kingdom particularly effective at making decisions? Here are some fun facts about decision-making.

Don’t make decisions on an empty stomach

If you’re hungry, you shouldn’t be following your gut feeling. That was the finding of psychologists at the University of Dundee in Scotland. The participants in the study had to indicate whether they would prefer to receive a sum of money immediately or get double the amount at a later date. If they had eaten, the subjects were willing to wait 35 days to receive twice the amount. With empty stomachs, they were only willing to wait 3 days.

8am to 1pm


This is the time when better decisions are made, according to a study that analyzed the behavior of 184 chess players. The decisions made during this period were the most accurate, but took the longest. As the day progressed, decision-making became quicker, but was less precise.

Learning from the animal kingdom

While humans often have difficulty with choices, animals are very effective in their decision-making. A research team from the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute found that animals choose a destination when moving around by reducing decisions to two options. This strategy results in extremely effective decision-making, no matter how many options there initially were.


Diverse teams make better decisions

The more diverse, the more successful: Mixed teams consisting of people of different genders, cultures, and ages make better and bolder decisions and enjoy greater economic success. That’s according to an international study by management consultancy McKinsey, which analyzed data from more than 1000 companies in 15 countries.

Influence of online reviews on our purchasing decisions

93% of people read online reviews before making a purchase. 2 out of 3 people say they are more likely to make a purchase after watching a customer review video.


200 decisions per game are made by referees in every soccer game they officiate. However, according to scientific studies, up to 20% of those decisions are incorrect.



How to make better decisions


Humans are wired to respond to their emotions, but instinctive reactions can impact the course of the decision-making process. Wait for your immediate emotions to settle down somewhat before making any big choices. Come back later and weigh up your emotions when your feelings have subsided.


You start a new job, but then your project is canceled. Chance or bad fortune can’t be foreseen. You can still have made the right decision, even if the outcome is bad. One bad outcome shouldn’t influence your future decisions, especially if the process behind your choice was sound.


Draw up a list of pros and cons when weighing up your options. Be fair and find arguments for each options, not just the one you might secretly prefer. The most important thing is not to be hasty.  Take time and focus on how you find arguments. This will help you become more aware and more balanced and educate your gut feeling.


Being in a good physical and mental state is vital. Do not make big decisions when you are emotional, angry, ecstatic, exhausted, or even hungry. Find a quiet place where you can focus, Do not obsess over trivial decisions. Decisions with a long-term impact are the ones that deserve your full attention.

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