We are making decisions every day, but how conscious are we before making them?

We all know that the marketing business is built upon attracting people and their decisions for buying products and services mainly based on pleasure. Yet somehow we cannot resist the marketing charm. On the other hand, democratic election processes are ongoing in USA and Sweden right now and both look as mainly based on pain and fear for ”ISIS” and racism.

Pain, fear and pleasure seem to drive our behavior at 100%. But are these foolproof principles?

”People are motivated to approach pleasure and avoid pain. From the ancient Greeks, through 17th- and 18th century British philosophers, to 20th-century psychologists, this hedonic or pleasure principle has dominated scholars’ understanding of people’s motivation”. Beyond pleasure and pain

Many feel also an Information overload which occurs when there is a substantial gap between the capacity of information and the ways in which people may or can adapt.


The Happy Monkey

Carlos Chaguaceda, author of ‘The happy monkey‘ “We are more unpredictable and free than we think”. He states that “we are more intuitive and emotional than we think” as “when asked if we are rational answer is yes.” However,”before your analytical capacity becomes operational, your brain has already captured a brutal amount of information that puts you in a subjective perspective. Before I open my mouth, your brain has already labeled me. “

In short, “we are rationally irrational” sums. There are many examples that support this conclusion. “Those who watched the debate between Nixon and Kennedy on television gave Kennedy as the winner, while those who followed him on the radio gave Nixon the winner. The conclusion is that we are yes, intuitive, emotional, irrational, but each in his own way.”


Why You Don’t Have to Be Rational to Run Your Own Life

”Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve noticed loose talk about human mental incapacity being used to justify assaults on personal autonomy. If we can’t think straight, after all, it follows that we need “help.” And much of this “help” consists of taking choices away from human beings and giving them to organizations, machines or software.” From a great article by David Berraby, Big Think – Smarter Faster

Many of us (not all) would argue that autonomy, the process of self-governance, is valuable. It is, after all, the theoretical basis of our civil rights. So how are we supposed to preserve that autonomy in the face of evidence that machines and organizations and apps are better at making our decisions than we are?

Personal autonomy has been defended for more than a century by the principle that people are rational when they choose to be. This principle seems to be false. At the same time, practical challenges to autonomy—what the philosopher Evan Selinger calls the “outsourcing” of humanity to governments, machines and apps—are growing. How is autonomy to be defended?


Why do we say we care for humanity but make opposite decisions?

Strongly influenced by their self-interest, humans do not protest being overcompensated, even when there are no consequences, researchers in Georgia State University’s Brains and Behavior Program have found. Influenced by self-interest, humans less concerned about inequity to others, researchers said.

This could imply that humans are less concerned than previously believed about the inequity of others, researchers said. These findings suggest humans’ sense of unfairness is affected by their self-interest, indicating the interest humans show in others’ outcomes is a recently evolved propensity.

”A true sense of fairness means that I get upset if I get paid more than you because I don’t think that’s fair,” Brosnan said. “We thought that people would protest quite a bit in the fixed decision game because it’s a cost-free way to say, ‘This isn’t fair.’ But that’s not what we saw at all. People protested higher offers at roughly the same rate that they refused offers where they got more, indicating that this lack of refusal in advantaged situations may not be because of the cost of refusing. It may just be because people don’t care as much as we thought they did if they’re getting more than someone else.”


Man Stabs Wife to Death in Walmart, Store Continues as Normal…

We cannot exclude ourselves and our own responsibility. Most people are supporting the system by either only looking or continuing their shopping since we are expecting someone else to act.

It is also known as denial of responsibiliy, ”due to forces outside the individual and beyond his control”, (Sykes & Matza, 1957, p 667)

The subject may use:

  • simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether

  • minimization: admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)

  • projection: admit both the fact and seriousness but deny by blaming somebody or something else.

How to make conscious decisions?

We need to be aware of what are influencing us:

  • Psychological: examining individual decisions in the context of a set of needs, preferences and values the individual has or seeks.
  • Cognitive: the decision-making process regarded as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment.
  • Normative: the analysis of individual decisions concerned with the logic of decision-making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to.

Seven step process useful for major decisions by Dr. Pam Brown:

  1. Outline your goal and outcome.
  2. Gather data.
  3. Develop alternatives (i.e., brainstorming)
  4. List pros and cons of each alternative.
  5. Make the decision.
  6. Immediately take action to implement it.
  7. Learn from and reflect on the decision.

Pilot Decision Making Process


Do you use to take decisions from logic or intuition and what are your thoughts about decision making? In our last week article we talked about critical thinking which can be a good start if you haven’t read before.

Christer Edman & Veronica Rebora


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