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Decision Making: The Relationship Between Logic and Emotion

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What do you do when your heart says yes but your head says no. The heart refers to emotional decision making, a strong feeling, such as love, joy, anger, hate, or fear that helps you make a decision. While the head refers to logical decision making, the ‘proper’ or reasonable way of thinking. But which way of making decisions is more reliable? Logic and emotions are both considered ways of knowing and together they can create a decision making powerhouse. Logic and emotion are both valuable factors in decision making and when working together they can help you to make the most rational decisions.

Emotion is the language of the unconscious mind. They are first in the decision making process until logic kicks in and rationalizes our decisions. Emotions are our reactions to perceived and imagined stimulation. In most situations our emotions outweigh our known logic. “Imagine placing a plank of wood on the ground and walking its length a few times. But suppose you place it a hundred feet in the air between two buildings. You know you can walk the plank, you just did it over and over. Yet, your emotions and fears outweigh your logic. Your imagination overpowers your knowledge of your ability to walk the plank.” Emotions are shortcuts in the brain to generate feelings on certain subjects and situations. Our emotions guide our daily life. We usually think that we make decisions based on facts, but that is not the case. When most people agree with a particular message, they think that they are being logical or rational. However when they disagree, they are being more emotional. No matter how much we’d like to think that we are rational and logical beings our decision making process is a mixture of both. We cannot rely entirely on either logic or emotion to make fully competent decisions.

Logical thinking is the process of using reasoning to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking need structure, thus logic is the language of the conscious mind. One’s ability to be rational is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the amount of time they have to make a decision. The logical thought process involves taking important ideas, facts, and conclusions involved in a problem and arranging them. To think logically is to think in steps. It is logical thinking that enables us to understand things that we read about or are shown, and to build on that knowledge without guidance. Human decisions are built around experiences spanning an individual’s entire life. Of course people are going to “trust their instincts”; their instincts are built on years of experiences. From an evolutionary perspective, our brains have developed over millions of years and run on these intuitions. It has been proven that certain training in logical thinking can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking helps children reject answers such as “I don’t know,” and “This is too hard.” It helps empower them to use a deeper thinking process.

Logic and emotion work both on their own but also together. All human brains have a side that contains logical thoughts and the opposite side has more thoughts that come straight from your emotions and what you truly want. Every time a decision to be made comes into your brain the left side urges you to make a logical decision, which is the most reasonable idea. While this is happening, the right side of your brain is pushing for the decision your feelings want. Majority of decisions are made by the right side of your brain coming straight from emotions. Studies show 80% of choices are made by emotions whereas 20% are decided based on logic. Emotion driven choices are most common when a person is tired, lonely, angry or hungry. The issue with these emotion driven thoughts are that they are made very quickly so every aspect of the situation may not have been viewed and important ideas may have been overlooked. But without emotions being involved in the decision making process humans would be unable to make any type of decision, let alone a logical one. Therefore when an emotional decision is made, commonly the left side of your brain kicks in and rationalizes the decision being made to whatever you see fit for the situation.

With emotion being the language of the unconscious mind and logic being the language of the conscious mind, both need to work together in order to make the best rational decisions. While logic is the reasoning used to better understand things, emotion is the more instinctive response based on one’s feelings. In most cases, people will first react based on emotions but then will later justify their actions with logic. The human brain has always involved the use of both logic and emotion and will continue to do so. Logic does not exist without emotion and emotion eventually will always seek logic. Logic and emotion are both important in everyday life, each with equal importance, and when both logic and emotion work together it results in making the best rational decisions possible.

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Decision Making: The Relationship Between Logic and Emotion. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from
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