Squash and Our Intuitive Strategic Thinking

April 1, 2011 BY danariely

As you may or may not know, I am a fairly avid squash player (not so good but I love the game). One of my favorite aspects of squash, aside from being a great source of exercise, is the strategic thinking required.

The other day while playing, I had a slight itch to change strategies. It wasn’t a conscious, logical process, and it was more like a kind of the desire to itch or pick a scab. Like picking a scab, my better judgment told me that making this switch would be a bad idea, but the urge was too great, and I switched my playing style. And it worked!

After the game I wondered, where does this itch come from? Is it part of our creative instinct for exploring and trying out new strategies?  Do we have a desire to try new things?