Which exerts a greater influence on our decisions:Thinking or Feeling?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

Decisions, decisions, decisions! So many decisions, so little time. We are constantly bombarded with the need to make decisions, to make choices and to selection between alternatives. This constant pressure can lead to a strong desire to chuck it all and make no decisions at all. That's when it is vacation time.

But since this responsibility will remain throughout life, how best should we approach the problem? The two main choices are to use either the thinking/cognitive or the emotional approach. Some research has shown that slightly more than half the male population in America uses thinking while a somewhat larger percentage of females decide questions emotionally. It is unknown whether this gender preference is genetically based or has been learned through experience.

These two approaches to decision-making can lead to some interesting dynamics in personal relationships. If one partner uses facts, details, and logic while the other has an emotional appeal toward one choice or the other, they are going to need good communication skills to resolve their potential differences.

Although one may have a an inherent (or learned) style preference, when it comes down to an individual decision where there is an emotional component already present, emotion is going to win out over logic every time. This may be self-evident when you look back over the emotional decisions that you made that you later regretted when the emotion subsided. Learning to control this tendency would be an important skill to develop.

To be sure, there will be occasions when faulty logic leads to regrettable choices and it is equally true that strictly emotional decisions can work out wonderfully well.

Balance is a great concept when considering decision-making. It probably would not be best to be a coldhearted automaton who makes decisions without emotion. But it would be equally self-defeating to discard rationality entirely.