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Emotion and Reason - How We Decide

18 November, 2015 - 17:42
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People decide what to do depending on the options they have and the information they are presented with. Someones feelings may be guiding them person or leading them to think a certain thing - and that person could be completely unaware that their mind is doing that.

John Heil maintains that conscious thinking need not be linguistic but is imagistic or 'pictorial'.

Take the two ideas that people are subject to emotion and that conscious thinking is pictorial and I arrive at the conclusion that that is why people like going to movie theaters. The images there are large and that helps make it a different experience - the movie overrides their thinking with images and sounds. That is the difference between going to the theater and just watching the movie on your home television anyway.


John Campbell maintains that the ability to know the reference of our singular and general terms is based, ultimately, on our ability to focus our conscious attention on objects and properties.

I think that that isn't saying much, however (or that it is rather obvious). I mean that is sort of by definition how people gain experience or understanding - by having a better or more developed understanding of the objects involved with whatever the knowledge is of.

I don't know if this means that understanding is visual or verbal - it is probably a combination of both and varies depending on what the understanding is of. Understanding is also emotional - conscious and unconscious emotions, visions and words all assist the understanding of ideas and objects.


People make decisions based on two factors - what they want and what they are most likely to actually get (or is actually going to happen).

So if someone wants something a lot, and it is very likely that they can get it; then it is a very easy decision.

Different emotional properties might interfere with a logical decision making process. If someone is very aroused they might not be able to reach logical decisions - it might help with the speed of the decision - but not necessarily its accuracy.


What is the 'truth'? It might be the truth to find out what someone wants the most - that is one thing that someone could be true or accurate about. Or finding out someones motivation behind a behavior - 'person a did this because they were motivated by factor x and y' - could be something else someone might try to be accurate about.

So human motivation is a subjective topic that is very important in understanding ordinary, daily events. It therefore is probably important behind a lot of the thinking people do. If you think about when you think about anything, or even the stream of someones thoughts is going to be influenced by current motivations and drives.

What else might make thinking emotional? Motivation obviously generates emotion, but motivations are cognitively triggered more so than emotions that simply lie in your body - such as moods and background feelings (background feelings were described by Damasio as the feelings people have when they wouldn't be feeling anything else). Those feelings are going to be less tied to motivation because they aren't as connected to goals.

Feeling and motivations are also going to be tied to emotional biases (heuristics) and thinking biases (schema). Basically humans can be biased from more emotional drives or drives that are more related to goals and certain thoughts they may have.