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Why You Shouldn't 'Go With Your Gut'

Emotions influence decision-making

Listening to your gut or "just doing what feels right" may not be the best way to make a decision.

According to a series of studies where managers tried to detect an interviewee's emotions, they were able to assess the situation more accurately when they thought systematically than when they just relied on intuition.

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Why You Shouldn't 'Go With Your Gut'

Why You Shouldn't 'Go With Your Gut'

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/the-best-headspace-for-making-decisions/500423/

theatlantic.com

4

Key Ideas

Emotions influence decision-making

Listening to your gut or "just doing what feels right" may not be the best way to make a decision.

According to a series of studies where managers tried to detect an interviewee's emotions, they were able to assess the situation more accurately when they thought systematically than when they just relied on intuition.

Anger complicates decision making

Anger is an activating emotion. It simplifies thinking. Angry people are inclined to blame people rather than society or fate. They take risks without considering the danger of those risks. They are more likely to rely on stereotypes.

Anger can put you in the game to act, but it is also important to think.

Positive and negative moods

People with a positive mood put more faith in the length of a message rather than the quality.

Sadness promotes systematic thought. However, it can keep you busy with analyzing the options without making a decision. Sadness also makes you more impatient.

How to make a decision

Since no mood can put you in the perfect frame of mind to make decisions, you can try to keep them from influencing your thought processes.

  • Make yourself wait before you react. Reexamine the situation.
  • Try to ignore your emotions by creating a formula to guide your decision.

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Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer (1990)

Emotional Mastery

It manifests itself in the kind of statements we make about ourselves, in relation to our emotional skills and success.

Qualities such as confidence, awareness and optimism, come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. 

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Sadness as a Person

A study found that people feel less sad if the feeling of sadness is personified, as it leads to a certain distance between the person and the emotion.

Detached from Sadness

By imagining that Sadness is a person, the sad person becomes detached from his/her sadness.

They can picture the sadness to have human traits or mannerisms, leading to an internal regulation of that particular emotion.

Not for the other Emotions

While this approach of humanizing the emotion appears to work for sadness, it can make a happy person less happy, if that feeling is humanized.

Other complex emotions like guilt and embarrassment may have any kind of effect and are yet to be studied.