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Feelings: what's the point of rational thought if emotions always take over?

Reason and emotions in decision making

Reason and emotions in decision making

Decision making is a complex process, that engages both reasoning and emotions. Even the most emotional person uses rational thought when deciding, and even the most rational person is affected by emotions when making decisions.

Still, we often tend to highlight the negative role of emotions in decision making.

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Feelings: what's the point of rational thought if emotions always take over?

Feelings: what's the point of rational thought if emotions always take over?

https://theconversation.com/feelings-whats-the-point-of-rational-thought-if-emotions-always-take-over-128592

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Reason and emotions in decision making

Decision making is a complex process, that engages both reasoning and emotions. Even the most emotional person uses rational thought when deciding, and even the most rational person is affected by emotions when making decisions.

Still, we often tend to highlight the negative role of emotions in decision making.

Being entirely rational

It may seem like life would be easier this way, but evolution has supported the development of feeling and thinking exactly because we need them both.

Feelings handle our desires and needs now (immediate decisions when danger is imminent), while rationality is preserving our interests and wellbeing in the future (we would lose interest in anything that doesn’t provide us with instant pleasure without it).

Feelings and reason are better friends than we believe

They feed and reinforce one another. The best rational decisions take feelings into account.

If you want to go on a diet for example, the best option is not always picking the one with the smallest calorie intake, but the one that you like the most and can stick with.

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Self-distancing

The act of increasing the psychological distance from your own subjective perspective when assessing events that you experience.

Is an external perspective that you can use when th...

Benefits of self-distancing

  • It can help people cope with difficult events from their past.
  • It can  help people deal with socially distressful situations.
  • Useful because of our tendency to display high levels of wise reasoning when we give advice to others, but not when we decide how to act for ourselves.
  • It reduces decisional biases and improves decision-making during times of information overload.

How to create self-distance

  • Use self-distancing language:  refer to yourself in the second or third-person.
  • Try to view the situation from an alternative viewpoint, that is different from your own.
  • Try to visualize the perspective of  someone you admire, and then ask yourself what would they do in that situation.
  • Try expressive writing: write about your thoughts and feelings when you’re trying to analyze an event that you’ve experienced.

Our emotions are short-term biased

Our emotions are obsessed with the present moment because it’s difficult to look past our immediate fears and anxieties. And this prevents good decision-making. The sweet s...

“Risky” behavior for long-term results

  • Propose “moonshot” ideas, knowing that 90% of them will get shot down, but that if one of them gets accepted it will be a huge boost to your career.
  • Be excessively bold in your dating life, stating exactly who and what you want.
  • Buy a bunch of difficult books expecting that most of them won’t be useful or comprehensible to you, but also that, occasionally, one will completely change your life.
  • Say yes to every invitation knowing that most of the events/people will be kind of dull and you’ll just go home early, but that occasionally you’ll meet someone really important or interesting.

Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue. Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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Intuition as a tool

Emotions and intuition are not fallible tools that always need to be ignored or even corrected by rational faculties,.

Intuition is the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain...

Predictive processing framework

Research suggests that the brain is a large predictive machine, constantly comparing incoming sensory information and current experiences against stored knowledge and memories of previous experiences, and predicting what will come next. This is described in what scientists call the “predictive processing framework”.

This ensures that the brain is always as prepared to deal with the current situation as optimally as possible.

The two thinking styles

Intuitive thinking is described as automatic, fast, and subconscious. Analytic thinking, on the other hand, is slow, logical, conscious and deliberate. Analytic and intuitive thinking are not opposites. They are complementary and can work in concert.

Even groundbreaking scientific research may start with intuitive knowledge that enables scientists to formulate innovative ideas and hypotheses, which later can be validated through rigorous testing and analysis.

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