• Andrew
    12
    Am i right in saying that decisions are made by the brains calculations when required to make a decision, analyzing all the factors of risk, outcome, requirements to perform it etc etc.

    I know of the OODA decision process, is this cycle used by the brain all the time? If not what else determines my decisions?

    I don't think emotions do, or is it in some instances they do depending on the environment at the time , in an example ' in combat would a soldiers decision process be influenced when in the heat of battle, wouldnt he/she go into a stage of survival mode? and simply revert to they training for survival.

    Jehovah Witness don't allow blood transfusions so its either taken to court or the individual dies (or whatever) in that situation, lets say its a family member Id assume it would be pretty full of emotional times and even that doesn't change to allow for medical assistance. And they watch the person slowly die.

    So do emotions drive the decision outcome? Thoughts
  • T Clark
    10.2k
    Am i right in saying that decisions are made by the brains calculations when required to make a decision, analyzing all the factors of risk, outcome, requirements to perform it etc etc.

    I know of the OODA decision process, is this cycle used by the brain all the time? If not what else determines my decisions?
    Andrew

    In my experience of my own decision making process, emotions play a very large role. I think that's what they're there for, why they were built into us. I think very few decisions are "made by the brains calculations when required to make a decision, analyzing all the factors of risk, outcome, requirements to perform it etc etc."
  • Cuthbert
    1k
    I think it is my brain that makes decisions in the same way that it is my hands that hold a cup and my foot that kicks a ball. But my foot only ever kicks a ball when I'm kicking the ball. To say the brain makes decisions is a manner of speaking and it may be misleading, because it can suggest that my brain's decisions are really not much to do with me, in the way that a rumbling stomach is mine but its rumbles are not altogether my own.

    On the main question, only you can answer it in the way that it is put. What determines your decisions? Well, why don't you give us an example of a decision that you've made and then tell us what determined it. Yesterday I decided to have an egg for breakfast. As to the question what determined that decision, I would say that nothing determined it because the decision, although made by myself, was not determined and nor was I determined. I fancied an egg. My fancying an egg did not determine the decision to cook one although it was my reason for cooking it. These matters are complicated and full of pitfalls that you cannot just skate over.
  • MikeL
    644
    The eternal battle between the heart and the mind. Your decisions, I am sure, use logical algorithms although you may have a say in which folders you wish to open to derive that logic. I think though that the entire decision making tree is soaking in emotion.

    Biologically speaking, if memory serves, its the thalamus that is the go between between neuro-hormonal feedback from the body and the cerebrum, mixing the two together and creating the conflict between logic and emotion, all for the sole purpose keeping us awake until a few hours before its time to get up for work.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Almost all decisions the mind makes are habitual in nature, eating, sleeping, walking driving, etc. There is no way we could exist with habits/patterns. These habits permeate the body as every cell of the body has its own intelligence and cooperates with other cells via the nervous system (including but not exclusively the brain) and are stored as body memory or sometimes called muscle memory.

    At times, a choice is made that is not habitual in nature. The mind looks out and observes patterns and it looks in and feels memory. Emotions tend to give more intensity to particular past memories that may affect the choice, e.g. a hurtful, fearful, or loving past memory with a similar pattern that the mind is visualizing. In effect, emotions are memory intensifiers.

    Based upon patterns perceived and felt, the mind makes choices. The memory patterns provide a guide but the mind makes the final choice. The brain/nervous system attempts to effect the nature of the choice. The brain makes no decisions, it simply receives and transmits. It is the mind that permeates the whole body, whatever it is feeling, that makes the choices, and you may be feeling some very definite whole body emotions.
  • Andrew
    12
    What Im trying to say, Example: A soldier engaging in combat must continually and quickly make decisions on the basis of his situational awareness and act on that decision within seconds for fear of being injured, not once or twice but possibly hundreds of times in a very short period of time, now say he is commander and also has 6-8 other members he is commanding to maintain the initiative to momentum and win the battle. So will all that's going on self preservation, security and safety of those under his command, giving orders, keeping aware of whats going on around him etc etc with the complexity of it all wouldnt his experience, training, knowledge come into it and he decision process must be working at lighting speed and also having to change his plan as the battle unfolds. With all this I wouldnt think he has time to make a decision based on the emotional aspect. Make sense ? Thoughts.
  • Andrew
    12
    Or do I have it all wrong ?
  • Streetlight
    9.1k
    Not only do emotions influence your decision making, but you are incapable of making decisions in the absence of emotions. Check out the work of Antonio Damasio and Joseph LeDoux on this; Basically, if you study those who have had the emotional parts of their brain destroyed, they are unable to choose between options because there are no emotional spurs one way or another. Here's Damasio writing about someone with brain damage to his prefontal lobe trying to make a decision on when to next come into the clinic:

    "For the better part of a half-hour, the patient enumerated reasons for and against each of the two dates: previous engagements, proximity to other engagements, possible meteorological conditions, virtually anything that one could reasonably think about concerning a simple date. ... He was now walking us through a tiresome cost-benefit analysis, and endless outlining and fruitless comparison of options and possible consequences. It took enormous discipline to listen to all of this without pounding on the table and telling him to stop, but we finally did tell him, quietly, that he should come on the second of the alternative dates.... He simply said, “That’s fine". (Damasio, quoted in William Connolly, Neuropolitics).

    Emotions are not set 'against' reason; they are constitutive and enabling of decision making.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    With all this I wouldnt think he has time to make a decision based on the emotional aspect. Make sense ? ThoughtsAndrew

    Via some sort of training, most reactions have become "instinctual" or habitual. As I explained, cells have memory and learn to work together via the nervous system.

    However, when allowed, the big mind, can intercede and force a different reaction that supercedes the cellular mind. For example, a pattern may be too run to cover, but it the big mind perceives a friend in Truckee, it will override the learned/habitual mind and go help the friend.

    The only way to understand human behavior is by imagining layers of minds working together though the nervous system. One must jettison the idea that the brain is doing everything and reimagine it as atransmitting/receiving tool.
  • Andrew
    12
    So when he becomes instinctive due to his training he isn't actually making any decisions at all, his muscle memory has taken over and he just goes along with it ?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    So when he becomes instinctive due to his training he isn't actually making any decisions at all, his muscle memory has taken over and he just goes along with it ?Andrew

    Absolutely. Anyone who has studied sports or arts understands the notion of body (aka muscle) memory. Repetition trains the cells. It is very important in martial arts and health for that matter, which is the goal of ancient healing arts such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga.

    A military person has training. Some prior to military training and some during military service. They train their body to react under different circumstances in order to survive. But then that circumstance arises that has high emotional content and intensity. It overrides. It forces a decision. Habitual cellular training is now undet control of the big mind. It it's sending Willful direction via the nervous system. It is telling the cells to move differently. A choice is being made!
  • T Clark
    10.2k
    Emotions are not set 'against' reason; they are constitutive and enabling of decision making.StreetlightX

    Really interesting. I'll look up Damasio.
  • Andrew
    12
    well said, thank you...
  • fdrake
    5.2k


    Emotions being required for decision making has already been covered, but your first sentence in the post:

    Am i right in saying that decisions are made by the brains calculations when required to make a decision, analysing all the factors of risk, outcome, requirements to perform it etc etc. — Andrew

    can be addressed further. It's quite well understood that humans don't make the vast majority of their decisions through an implicit, objective cost benefit analysis. Ratiocination is lazy and usually substitutes a hard problem for intuitive easy problems that don't always produce the correct answer. Ratiocination is also heavily influenced by priming effects, such as there being studies showing that when subjects are exposed to revolting images then given a quick political affiliation test, they become more conservative than subjects not given the revolting images.

    Even in scenarios where we expect experienced and disciplined thinkers to give judgements, humans usually fall foul to all kinds of contextual effects. For example, there's a famous data set of court proceedings in a Jerusalem court [can't remember what it was for], giving whether the defendant was convicted or not and the time of their court case. Conviction rates were higher when the judges hadn't had their coffee or towards the end of the day when they were tired.

    This kind of thing also occurs for decisions we are not conscious of making. There's a study which asked subjects to fill out various opinions on the elderly, then move to a different office to complete a largely irrelevant batch of questions. Subjects were shown where both offices were before taking the first test. The control group was instead asked to answer questions about something largely irrelevant, then to go to the other office after completion. The interesting result is that the subjects were timed from leaving the first office and entering the second - those people who were asked to think about being elderly moved a lot slower than those who didn't.

    If you would like to see more of this kind of research, the book 'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahnneman has an excellent battery of references, and its seminal paper 'Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases' has a legal free download if you Google it.
  • Andrew
    12
    Well I've been incorrect in everything I've said so far proves one thing and confirms my enrollment for the next Dunning-Kruger seminar.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    4.9k
    Rich, I wanted to let you know that a portion of your reply has been posted to The Philosophy Forum Facebook page. Congratulations and Thank you for your contribution.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    4.9k
    yes fine fineAndrew

    Good, Good. It is a pleasure to meet you Andrew. Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!
    Enjoy and relax, this is a safe place~
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