Whether or not to go to the movies tonight, that new sweater in red or blue, and another job or wait a bit? The eternal skeptic mainly gets in the way of himself. Or not?
A study by Eric Rassin of Erasmus University shows that the higher a person scores on the indecisiveness scale, the less satisfied they are with their life. But researchers Jana-Maria Hohnsbehn and Iris Schneider come to a different conclusion in their new study: Doubters make two big mistakes far fewer than their more determined peers.
First, they suffer less from confirmation bias. In other words, they place less value on information that confirms their own ideas. For example, the researchers asked participants what question they would ask a person to find out if they were introverted or extroverted. Previously, they thought this person would be outgoing.
They could choose from the questions: “Do you like being home alone? or “Do you like going to parties?” Most people choose the second question, but with this they then give their confirmation bias. Skeptics choose the former because they are more likely to question their own ideas. This is an important advantage, because the confirmation bias common and prevents us from thinking rationally.
Second, skeptics make fewer “functional attribution errors.” In other words, they are less likely to attribute failures or successes to the person rather than the context. If someone slips, he does not think: what a fool, but: it must be slippery. “So being ambivalent has to be embraced,” says Hohnsbehn. “It can give us a needed break and signal that things are complex. And that we need more time to think more carefully about our decision.Sources): HLN
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