Want to know the secret to making good decisions? According to scientists, it’s simple: just pretend you are advising someone else.
That’s according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, which attempted to find out the answer to what is known as Solomon’s paradox, named after the Old Testament King, who was famed for his wisdom but failed to make good decisions in his own life.
The research, first flagged up by the Science of Us, asked 20-40 year olds to imagine they or a friend had been cheated on, and found that people who distanced themselves from the problem made better choices. In the final part experiment, the scientists checked the result against 60-80 year olds to see if age made a big difference to the results - and they found it did not.
“People are wiser when reasoning about others’ problems than when reasoning about their own problems. In addition, our results demonstrate that self-distancing reduces this asymmetry in wise reasoning, whereas aging does not, contrary to what some recent research might lead one to expect,” the researchers concluded.