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Emotions and Logic

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Jonah Lehrer’s,  How We Decide, is an intriguing look into way the brain and mind work to utilize all the known experience they have to come to an answers.  When I say “they”, what I really mean is “us”.  How we work seems to have an never ending pull on our want for self discovery.

How We Decide

The historical view of our decisions builds off of what is rational and what is instinctive.  What is logic and can be constrained, directed and organized in order to build a “right” answer, then there is the emotional mind that is quick and powerful but without controls and potentially runs amiss without any forcible leverage.  These parts, as Lehrer introduces, where processes of thought from Plato to the twenty-first century.  Ideals and beliefs that have lasted an incredible amount of time and therefore must have truth and validity to them.

Well, maybe to a degree.

When considering any split second decision or a choice that must be made under a short time period, what do we pull from in order to make the best decision?  We have this great desire to know that we have made the best decision, however there are times when we are building off of a feeling, an emotion.  As Lehrer reviewed cases where these type of situations took place, he identifies that “feeling” that the person has or at least can recall.

Jonah Lehrer

The common thread is not the feeling though.  The common thread is that it is unexplainable to the person, why they did what they did.  They cannot readily explain their thought process they had or the cause for the choice.  They can only explain the feeling, good or bad, depending on the situation.  That emotional response that the brain pointed the mind to lead to the choice.

Responding this way does not excuse the choice to emotions alone, but to the cause for choosing what they chose.  The emotional response instigated or pushed the logic part of the brain to try and use that information as best they could.  Those that often used the emotional prod, found that right or best decision.

Why would this be so?  How could emotions possibly know better than logic and be utilized in a constrained environment to produce a result that is accurate?

In How We Decide, Lehrer argues the point that the emotional brain is not to be controlled by logic at all, but rather how do we use emotions in improve our logical response to questions, situation, etc?

Very interesting read.  Although the cover was almost a deterrent for me, I found the content extremely interesting.  For those that enjoy psychology and the human nature of choice and how to learn from that to improve how you work and response, this book  is worth the time.

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Written by ebookwisdom

April 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm