Who knew the saying "trust your gut instinct" was literal? It turns out that your racing heart, queasy stomach and sweaty palms can override rational thought in the decision making process.
New research conducted by the University of Exeter and the University of Cambridge (both in UK) suggest that people's "gut feelings" really do have a dramatic impact on our actions when it comes to dubious financial transactions.
Dr Barney Dunn, of the University of Exeter, tells EurekAlert:
"This research supports the idea that what happens in our bodies can sometimes shape how we think and feel in our minds. Everyday phrases like 'following your heart' and 'trusting your gut' can often, it seems, be accurate... Humans are highly attuned to unfairness and we are sometimes required to weigh up the demands of maintaining justice with preserving our own economic self-interest."
The team used a psychological test called the Ultimatum Game which presents participants with numerous ways to split, say, $20. Players frequently reject offers that are somehow unfair to one of the parties in the transaction--even when doing it is an irrational choice in economic terms.
This time, the team measured how much the participants sweated through the fingertips and how much their heart rate changed. Participants also had their ability to "listen" to their bodies, such as being able to accurately count their own heartbeat - were tested.