Washington - People who trust their feelings - or follow their heart - are able to perceive future events more accurately than those who subdue their feelings, a study reveals.
Researchers conducted a series of eight studies in which their participants were asked to predict various future outcomes, including the 2008 U.S. Democratic presidential nominee, the box-office success of different movies, the winner of American Idol, movements of the Dow Jones Index, even the weather.
The results consistently revealed that people with higher trust in their feelings were more likely to correctly predict the final outcome than those with lower trust in their feelings, called the emotional oracle effect, the Journal of Consumer Research reported.
The researchers explain their findings through a "privileged window" hypothesis. Michel Pham, professor of business and marketing at the Columbia Business School, who led the study, elaborates on the hypothesis, said a university statement.
"When we rely on our feelings, what feels 'right' or 'wrong' summarizes all the knowledge and information that we have acquired consciously and unconsciously about the world around us," said Pham.
"It is this cumulative knowledge, which our feelings summarize for us, that allows us make better predictions. In a sense, our feelings give us access to a privileged window of knowledge and information -- a window that a more analytical form of reasoning blocks us from," said Pham.
In one study involving the Clinton-Obama contest in 2008, high-trust-in-feelings respondents predicted correctly for Obama about 72 percent of the time compared with low-trust respondents, who predicted for Obama about 64 percent of the time -- a striking result given that major polls reflected a very tight race between Clinton and Obama at that time.
For the winner of American Idol, the difference was 41 percent for high-trust-in-feelings respondents compared to 24 percent for low-trust respondents.
In another study, participants were even asked to predict future levels of the Dow Jones stock market index. Those who trusted their feelings were 25 percent more accurate than those who trusted less.