Beware of Snap Decisions
Will you be picking a new primary care physician now that you've reached Medicare age? Or perhaps you're considering moving when you retire and you're trying to decide where you would be happiest and healthiest. Or you could be faced with choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one. Or maybe you're just involved with garden-variety decision making such as which pair of sunglasses to buy to protect your eyes or what to order at a restaurant so you won't sabotage your diet. In all of those cases, according to a recent study done at the University of California, Berkeley, you are most likely to choose the option you encounter first.
This somewhat startling finding could clearly impact your well-being and your overall health. The lesson is that we need to be alert to an innate tendency to make snap decisions that may or may not be in our best interest.
The paper, entitled “First is Best,” was published online in PLoS ONE by lead author Dana R. Carney and colleagues.
According to a release from the university, the study reported that especially in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation, preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first. While there are sometimes rational reasons to prefer firsts, Carney says the “first is best” effect suggests that firsts are preferred even when completely unwarranted and irrational.