NEW YORK (MainStreet) — New research is showing that simply thinking like an expert can make you one—sort of.
Michal Bialek, an assistant professor at Kozminski University in Poland, performed a study on what happened to subjects’ decision-making when they simply thought of themselves as experts. When making a decision, people simply asked themselves, “What would an expert do in this situation?”
Perhaps the most notable benefit he found was that thinking like an expert can help people override their natural impulsivity, making them more comfortable with “receiving less now rather than more later,” Bialek says. One common psychological bias, he says, is that “people who are expecting losses are keen to risk [too much] to avoid the potential loss, but when it comes to gains, they usually prefer small but certain gains.”
For example, Bialek says that most people would rather flip a coin to determine whether they’d have to pay a $100 speeding ticket or no ticket at all, rather than paying $50 for sure. In other words, they’re willing to take a risk to avoid a potential loss of money. But when the situation is reversed—they can flip a coin to determine whether they’ll get paid $100 or nothing for some small amount of work, or they can accept a guaranteed sum of $50—they’ll generally choose the sure promise of payment. That means that most people are averse to taking risks when it comes to gains, but are willing to accept more risk when it comes to losses.