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2. INDIVIDUAL NEEDS (cont)
e. For DECISION-MAKING (DM)
Some influences on Decision Making (DM) (cont)
Other Factors: from various studies – which may seem obvious or logical – but nice to have ‘scientific validation’
• MOOD we’re in at the time of DM –
When participating, or just observing, an ambiguous or pleasant event – being in a good mood allows people to access positive associations from memory that contribute to a positive evaluation of the situation: “If I’m feeling good when meeting someone new, I’m more apt to like them”.
EXP: A theory of Mood Maintenance states that happy decision-makers are reluctant to gamble, since they wouldn’t want to undermine their happy feelings in case of a loss.
Studies about gambling choices & job selection decisions also showed how Es influence us:
• unhappy subjects preferred high-risk / high-reward options, because sadness generates an inherent goal of ‘reward replacement’, while —
• anxious subjects preferred low-risk / low-reward options because fear generates an inherent goal of ‘uncertainty reduction’
• MEMORY: Any Es we experience in a situation will be recorded in our emotional memory banks. Later those Es will be activated when we face a similar condition, or have a difficult decision to make quickly, or when under pressure (state-dependent remembering).
Emotions work as “memory retrieval cues” & affect our DM, yet we seldom realize how we felt in that previous experience & how it’s influencing us now. We will make very different choices in the present if the memory of a similar past event is a happy vs. distressing one
• HELPING: (see “Weak Decision Styles” posts)
When legitimately trying to help someone else make a decision, we need to first find out what their style is – if it’s primarily emotional or logical – so we talk to them from that point of view.
Since Es always play a part in everyone’s reactions, we can make emotionally colored appeals in order to encourage the person to go in the ‘right’ direction. BUT it can also be used to manipulate. Children do it all the time, knowing how to get to their parents, & successful sales people are trained in techniques such as NLP
In addition, ACoAs need to honestly evaluate our motives for wanting to influence someone, before proceeding. We all may be guilty of this occasionally – but to consistently try to control what others want & how they live their lives is about our FoA & arrogance (grandiosity), as well as insulting to their DM ability.
Of course, even when what we want for others is reasonable & healthy, we aren’t always successful at convincing them to make decisions we believe to be good for them, such as getting an alcoholic family member or mate to go to AA, or others to go to Al-Anon.
✶ In any case, our primary Recovery goal is to keep the focus on our own emotions, needs, motives & goals.
ACoAs: We often have trouble making decisions because:
• we’re so fearful of displeasing someone, lest they get angry OR
• that we’ll make the ‘wrong’ choice, be sorry later, then have S-H
• we’re so brainwashed by family that we don’t know what we actually do want & like
• our symbiotic attachment to them makes us believe what they taught us, rather than what suits us
• we don’t have a right to say what we want/like, when we do know
• our internal conflicts are so strong we’re paralyzed – & then call it being lazy!
Our confused thinking & feeling can be between the WIC & the Healthy Adult, the Bad vs the Good Parent, mental health vs the addict’s voice ….
✶ ACoAs benefit by continually paying attention to emotions & intuition – that still small voice, that whisper – which tells us what’s really going on, when something’s wrong, to ask for our needs, and to never give up!