HEADS OR TAILS?
THE SCIENTIFICALLY SMARTER WAY TO MAKE BUSINESS DECISIONS
You have two options in front of you. They both sound great, are backed by research, and could transform your business for the better, but you can only choose one. Which do you commit to? When you’re faced with two equally worthwhile options, science says the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. When you flip a coin, you’re not really leaving the decision up to chance; you’re actually calling on your intuition to guide you. The practice is often regarded as unscientific, but there’s a lot of research to support making intuitive decisions. Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, authors of “The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier,” explain how we develop that “gut feeling.” Intuitive decisions are driven by two structures in your brain: the basal ganglia and the insula. The basal ganglia are connected
to movement and building habits. The insula, part of the cerebral cortex, becomes engaged when you experience pain, feel love, listen to music, or even enjoy a piece of chocolate. Neuroscientists believe the insula is responsible for self-awareness, particularly for recognizing changes in your body. you aren’t consciously thinking about it. If you make a conscious decision that agrees with the subconscious solution of your basal ganglia, your brain gives off a subtle reward. The decision doesn’t have to be logical to feel right — that’s your gut feeling. However, if the conscious and subconscious parts of your brain don’t agree, your insula detects the discrepancy and registers a threat. It’s the “I have a bad feeling about this” response. When you have to solve a problem, your basal ganglia start working on a solution, even if
your accumulated experience.” According to the authors, flipping a coin is the best way to really listen to your basal ganglia and insula. Your subconscious brain has already made a decision; flipping a coin helps you test your intuition about each option. If the coin lands on heads and you feel relieved, then heads is the right choice. However, if the coin lands on tails and you’re uncertain or want to flip again, then that’s your intuition saying the other option is the better choice. So, the next time you’re caught in a pickle, grab the nearest quarter and put your intuition to the test.
Fabritius and Hagemann note that gut feelings “represent the most efficient use of
3 COMMON MISTAKES POLICE OFFICERS MAKE
INCOMPLETE POLICE REPORTS Many officers keep reliable, meticulous records of their arrests — others leave much to be desired. Police reports are an invaluable source of evidence in any case: They help us know how events occurred from the officer’s perspective. Sometimes, these reports reveal their perspective was skewed or even flat out wrong. Omitted details key to your case, false information such as an incorrect address or license plate number, or other such major oversights can lead to a case being dismissed. Of course, even when you see these mistakes made in the moment, it’s easy to feel powerless to stop them. Arguing with an officer in the moment is never the solution. Your right to a fair trial and legal representation are your best chance of rectifying these missteps.
need to have a reason for stopping your vehicle. They can’t pull you over on a hunch, or because they think you “look suspicious.” If the officer cannot provide a valid reason for why they stopped your car in particular, then any evidence they gathered from the stop will be inadmissible in court. BOTCHING THE BREATH TEST The breathalyzer test relies on a lot of complex factors in order to work properly. This includes correctly calibrating the kit and following specific protocol to ensure that blood-alcohol readings are as accurate as possible. However, some officers cut corners, administering the test incorrectly and potentially botching the results. If you or your legal representative can prove this was the case, the test cannot be used against you.
While it can be comforting to think of police officers as infallible administrators of justice, the truth is that they’re just as human as the rest of us. Missteps, unconscious biases, fatigue — innumerable factors can lead a member of law enforcement to under- perform or overstep their duties. These are just a few of the mistakes an officer can make — mistakes that can lead to you winding up in court. LACKING PROBABLE CAUSE If you’ve ever been pulled over despite obeying all traffic laws, this may have happened to you. Under the law, officers
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