Deliberation Versus Intuition: Decomposing the Role of Expertise in Judgment and Decision Making


Correspondence to: Koen Dijkstra, University of Amsterdam, Department of Social Psychology, Roetersstraat 15, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands



What produces better judgments: deliberating or relying on intuition? Past research is inconclusive. We focus on the role of expertise to increase understanding of the effects of judgment mode. We propose a framework in which expertise depends on a person's experience with and knowledge about a domain. Individuals who are relatively experienced but have modest knowledge about the subject matter (“intermediates”) are expected to suffer from deliberation and to benefit from a more intuitive approach, because they lack the formal knowledge to understand the reasons underlying their preferences. Individuals who are high (“experts”) or low (“novices”) on both experience and knowledge are expected to do well or poorly, respectively, regardless of decision mode. We tested these predictions in the domain of art. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that intermediates performed better when relying on intuition than after deliberation. Judgments of experts and novices were unaffected. In line with previous research relating processing style to judgment mode, Experiment 3 showed that the effect of processing style (global versus local) on judgment quality is similarly moderated by expertise. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.