June 12, 2013
Efficient Decision-Making As human beings we are gifted with the characteristic of decision-making and in order to perfect it we must master the two methods that are involved. At the same time, we must use both methods in a compromising manner in order to become efficient decision-makers. For various reasons, some would argue that only one of the two methods should be consulted. The two views will be fully explained in detail after the decision-making methods have been made clear.
This skill that we humans have developed over thousands of years has been heavily researched to our advantage. We have found that decision-making is one of the qualities that are found in leadership roles. In order to be a great leader, you must be able to decide quickly and make wise decisions that produce favorable outcomes. This kind of person also knows when they have the luxury of time to gather information and when they must decide based on a limited amount of time. For example, the president of the United States must be confident that he can make the decisions necessary to sustain our country. Decision-making is also a necessity when trying to survive in the world. In the past when civilizations were less developed and relied on hunting, the hunter must act quickly when danger is present to stay alive.
There are various ways to explain decision-making. One could use philosophy to explain moral decisions and why some people make the decisions they do. Another way involves biology to prove that as humans we have evolved or have been naturally selected due to our decision-making that has developed over centuries and saved our lives. Psychology may also be used by using principles such as addicting behavior, rewards, memories, and the conscious and unconscious decisions that we make. One last practice that helps explain decision-making is neuroscience. With the help of this area of science, we can document the reactions of neurons and signals in the brain and how they relate to actions made by a subject. We can also study how brain damage, along with the areas of the brain itself, affects a subject’s decision-making.
These various practices used to explain decision-making are also used to explain the two methods used in the process: emotions and rationality or logic. The question concerning decision-making is whether or not emotions and rationality must be used together, or if only a single method is properly efficient enough to master decision-making. To gain a better understanding of the research that will be presented, emotion and rationality will both be explained. To begin, emotions can be defined simply as what a person is feeling when assessing a situation. The concept is at the same time difficult and simple to understand but differs from rationality in a simple way. When we are given a situation or problem we immediately react. This reaction, in the psychology field called an automatic or unconscious response, is what we feel and does not need to follow an interaction of thought. Neurobiology is an excellent method of explaining emotions because when we feel these emotions specific chemical reactions are taking place in the brain. This type of science has determined that areas of the brain, like the amygdala, control our emotional responses; this relates to a topic that will be discussed later on involving a lack of emotional responses due to brain damage.
Rationality, the second method in decision-making, differs from emotions specifically because it involves thought and extensive cognition. Here we rely on knowledge and information acquired over time in order to compare decisions that we eventually choose from. It is not something that is literally felt in the brain but in our mind. Several theories of rationality have been developed by economists and philosophers. Epistemic rationality involves reaching the truth in the matter while avoiding what is