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Apparently you’ll make better decisions if you look at this picture

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
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We all make bad decisions, don’t we: we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, we say the wrong things at precisely the wrong moments, we swipe right on people who turn out to be total bellends.

But! Your days of making horrible decisions are over! Maybe! That’s if you believe a new study from Ben Gurion University, anyway.

Scientists at the university have found that looking at photos of cold scenes – as opposed to photos of warmer climes – elicited “greater cognitive control” in their subjects.

Cognitive control is described by the researchers as “the ability to deliberately inhibit responses or make choices that maximise the long-term best interests of the individual”.

The team asked subjects to perform an “anti-saccade task”, which asks them to look in the opposite direction to a moving object (which is harder than it sounds). And the subjects shown images of “winter scenery” and asked to picture themselves there performed significantly better than those shown a scene of a “temperature neutral concrete street” and a “sunny landscape”.

“The result indicated that those viewing the cold landscape did better and that even without a physical trigger, cognitive control can be activated through conceptual processes alone,” said lead researcher Dr Idit Shalev.

“While signals of warmth induce a relaxed attitude, cool signals trigger alertness and a possible need for greater cognitive control.”

So next time you need to make an important decision, take a look at a wintery scene – it might just stop you making a huge mistake.