7 Weird Reasons You Make Really Dumb Decisions

by | May 11, 2015 | Life

Beautiful women compel you to do stupid stuff, like spend absurd amounts of money on tapas, or dance in public.

You know this. You’ve made peace with this. But did you know that attractive guys also have a similarly destructive influence on your decision-making?

From betting heavy at the casino to investing in dubious stocks, you make riskier financial decisions when you’re around handsome men, finds a recent Australian study.

“When the average heterosexual man sees another good-looking guy, he likely feels that he is less attractive,” says study author Eugene Chan, Ph.D. “This motivates him to increase his appeal to women in other ways.”

Chan says many women tend to dig guys who have good looks and cash, according to his research. If you feel like the men around you have a leg up in the looks department, you’re more likely to take risks to acquire more moolah. “The appeal of having more money, and quickly, is what drives the risky behaviour,” Chan says.

Here are six more strange reasons you make, well, pretty stupid decisions.

You Just Ate

You make better choices when you’re hungry—at least when it comes to complex problems, finds a recent study in PLOS One. An empty stomach increases your reliance on intuition and emotions—and not on heady analysis, the authors say. Your brain often gets in the way of your good judgment when you overanalyze a tricky issue. So you’re better off trusting your gut, which is your default decision-making mode when you’re hungry.

You Have a Master’s Degree

Multiple studies have shown the more education you have, the more likely you are to take risky, speculative gambles when it comes to your finances. Your fancy book-learnin’ makes you overconfident in your own abilities—even if you really don’t know what the hell you’re doing, shows research in The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

 You’re Addicted to Your Smart Phone

Digital distractionMedia multitasking. There are a lot of different names for technology-based brain drain. And studies consistently find the same harms: Switching among electronic sources of info—email, Facebook, Candy Crush Saga, Instagram, sports live streams, etc.—torpedoes your ability to focus and make smart decisions. Just knowing there’s an unread email in your inbox hurts your ability to concentrate in the same way a 10-point IQ drop would, finds one U.K. study.

You Play Grand Theft Auto

Playing a video game that rewards risky or reckless behavior encourages you to take similar gambles in the real world. One study from Germany found guys who played games that involved crazy, balls-to-the-wall driving maneuvers—speeding and weaving in and out of traffic—were more likely to violate traffic laws and do dumb stuff on the road in real life.

You’re Struggling Financially

The stress and mental strain of financial struggles can drop your IQ by up to 13 percent—roughly the same loss you’d experience from missing a night of sleep, shows a recent Harvard University study. That means guys who are broke are more likely to make bad decisions than well-off men, the study indicates.

You Have an Impressive Job Title 

The more power and authority you have, the more likely you are to make questionable decisions, finds a study from the University of Southern California. As your career star rises higher and higher, you feel more and more confident in your abilities. As a result, you spend less time considering others’ opinions or doubting yourself (the way you did when you were a small fry). As a result, you tend to make shaky calls, the authors suggest.

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