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People consider far less information than they think they will before making judgments, suggests a study in PNAS. Researchers asked 207 online participants to view up to 40 paintings in a novel style of art. Before viewing the paintings, the researchers asked half the group how many paintings they thought they would need to see before they made up their minds about whether they liked the style. The other half of the participants were simply told to view as many paintings as they needed before making up their minds. On average, the “predictors” thought they would need to see 16.29 paintings before deciding; however the “experiencers” viewed an average of just 3.48 paintings before giving a thumbs up or down. In six more experiments with about 1,800 more participants, the researchers showed that this discrepancy extended to judgments involving drink taste preferences, assessments of another person’s intelligence and character, and predictions of the winners of political elections. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives