It is rational to screw people over?!

We usually trust people who think rationally more than we trust those who rely on their gut feelings. But should we?

Chen-Bo Zhong (from the University of Toronto) decided to find out by asking whether people would lie and screw someone over. Some did and some didn’t.

If they were encouraged to “make decisions based on gut feelings,” they would rip off the other person by lying just 27% of the time.

But if they were encouraged to “think rationally” they would screw them over 69% of the time!

The effect was so strong that they concluded, “Deliberative processes can license morally questionnable behaviors by focusing on tangible monetary outcomes and reducing emotional influence.”

That’s why it’s important to make moral, ethical and strategic decisions without relying upon the numbers. Sure, use the numbers. Check the downside. Make sure you can afford it if everything goes wrong. But ultimately we make better decisions – at least morally better decisions – when we allow our ‘inner goodness’ to shine through.

For me the warning is that the next time I’m making a decision, don’t just rely on the numbers… You gotta listen to your heart.

Sorry Spock.