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When should I trust my gut? Linking domain expertise to intuitive decision-making effectiveness


  • Dane, Erik
  • Rockmann, Kevin W.
  • Pratt, Michael G.


Despite a growing body of scholarship on the concept of intuition, there is a scarcity of empirical research spotlighting the circumstances in which intuitive decision making is effective relative to analytical decision making. Seeking to address this deficiency, we conducted two laboratory studies assessing the link between domain expertise (low versus high) and intuitive decision-making effectiveness. These studies involved non-decomposable tasks across divergent expertise domains: basketball in Study 1 and designer handbag authentication in Study 2. Across both studies, and consistent with our overarching hypothesis, we found that the effectiveness of intuition relative to analysis is amplified at a high level of domain expertise. Taken together, our results demonstrate the importance of domain expertise in intuitive decision making and carry a number of theoretical and practical implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Dane, Erik & Rockmann, Kevin W. & Pratt, Michael G., 2012. "When should I trust my gut? Linking domain expertise to intuitive decision-making effectiveness," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 187-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:119:y:2012:i:2:p:187-194
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2012.07.009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. De Dreu, Carsten K. W., 2003. "Time pressure and closing of the mind in negotiation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 280-295, July.
    2. Johnson, Joseph G. & Raab, Markus, 2003. "Take The First: Option-generation and resulting choices," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 215-229, July.
    3. Alba, Joseph W & Hutchinson, J Wesley, 1987. " Dimensions of Consumer Expertise," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 411-454, March.
    4. Gerald F. Smith, 1988. "Towards a Heuristic Theory of Problem Structuring," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(12), pages 1489-1506, December.
    5. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    6. Shapiro, Stewart & Spence, Mark T., 1997. "Managerial intuition: A conceptual and operational framework," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 63-68.
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