The more people trust their feelings, the more accurately they can predict the outcomes of things that range from the mundane, like the weather, to the significant, like the outcome of elections and future stock market levels, according to new research published in the October 2012 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.
The study—by a team comprising Andrew Stephen, assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, and Columbia University Business School faculty members Michel Tuan Pham, Kravis Professor of Business and Marketing, and Leonard Lee, associate professor of marketing—found that people who trusted their emotions more accurately predicted future events than individuals who did not place trust in their feelings, a phenomenon they call the “emotional oracle effect.”
“The results show that your feelings are a valid information source, provided you have some prior knowledge of the decision topic,” said Stephen. “The normal line of thought when making predictions or forecasts is that people should be more rational, that you probably shouldn’t go with your gut feeling. Our research indicates that in some cases relying on your feelings is likely to help you.”
“We are encoding experiences every second of every day. Actually tapping into that is a challenge, because it’s mostly unconscious,” said Stephen. “Trusting your feelings is how you access that catalogued information.”