The Echoes of the Mind (86) Decisions


Unlike cognitive judgments, affective feelings often cannot be avoided. One can control the expression of emotion, but not the emotion itself. Affect seems to be more easily noticed and recalled than thoughts. They are less controllable than thoughts.

Once feelings are created, they are less likely to be changed than cognitions. We rarely change our initial impressions of something because we trust our reactions. ~ Robert Zajonc

The driver of all decisions is desire, which is an emotive agent aimed at satisfaction. The very definition of the term rational is reasoning which pleases. The idea of “objective” rationality is laughable. People sharing the same desires does not render cunning about their achievement objective. This is, instead, shared subjectivity.

Determining sound judgment is an exercise in hindsight. Beforehand, any risky decision may be considered unsound.

A calculated risk is simply taking an anticipated risk where the hope of gain wishfully outweighs estimated probability of loss. Estimates never consider system dynamics, which are beyond ken; and anticipation relies upon the availability heuristic (that whatever is considered is a valid appraisal).

When making decisions, we focus on what we are getting and pay scant heed to what we are foregoing. Opportunity cost is an orphan to desire.

Worldview shapes decisions. In the social realm, the most compelling decisions come from looking through a moral lens.

Moral rules bind communities together, enable trust and the division of labor and cause people to behave honestly when no one is watching. Because these rules have such a crucial role in the formation and functioning of human social groups, we are obsessed with their violation. ~ Daniel Gilbert

When behaviors are described as moral violations, apathy transforms into action. Texas highways were awash in litter until 1986, when the state promoted the slogan: “Don’t mess with Texas,” whereupon littering became an insult to pride, and thereby greatly decreased.

Anticipation of pride consistently creates higher pro-environmental intentions than anticipated guilt. ~ American psychologist Elke Weber