Think hard for a while, and then fall asleep to make a good decision

Long and careful deliberation can be ineffectual, because the conscious mind has a very limited processing capacity. “People who mull over their decisions typically get the relative importance of the various pros and cons very wrong.” Research reported in the Harvard Bus.Rev., Vol. 85, Feb. 2007 at 30, discloses that extensive unconscious thought, after a period of focus, can make intuition more reliable than other ways to decide.

Studies conducted by a professor of psychology in the Netherlands a.dijksterhuis@psych.ru.nl show the superiority of immersing yourself for a period of time and then letting your cerebral processes on their own chew over the material. That approach is better than making a choice immediately or thinking diligently about the decision and then taking it. When people let their unconscious ponder, “Their decisions were better from a normative perspective (more rationally justifiable), from a subjective perspective (more likely to produce post-choice satisfaction), and from an objective perspective (more accurate).” So, lawyers should cogitate a while, then sleep on it.

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