In Reality Mr. Spock Couldn’t Make the Simplest Decision

Only 30% of individual behavior is rational — the other 70% is emotional.  (The Gallop 2017 Global Emotions report – registration required for free download.)

Mr. Spock:

Logic is only part of decision-making. The other part is feelings.

Mr. Spock wouldn’t be able to make a simple decision. 

Antonio Damasio studied a business person named Elliot who had a small brain tumor removed. During surgery the neurosurgeon accidentally cut the connection between the frontal lobe (center for thought) and the amygdala (center for emotions).

Elliot could think, but he couldn’t feel.

Damasio asked Elliot to pick a time for the next interview. Elliot explained the pros and cons of various times, but couldn’t choose. He didn’t have feelings/preferences.

You need feelings to make decisions.

Go with your feelings:

Gary Klein explains the intuition of a firefighter in Cleveland, Ohio who took his team into a blazing kitchen. Suddenly, yelled, ‘Let’s get out, now!’

Moments later the floor collapsed.

At first the firefighter didn’t know why he ordered everyone out. On reflection he realized that the fire had been too quiet and too hot. It didn’t feel right. Come to find out the fire was in the basement.

Expert intuition:

The firefighter had ‘expert intuition’ – pattern recognition.

You can’t help yourself from knowing the answer to 2+2. You don’t think, you know. You’re an expert.

Feelings and decision-making:

#1. Pay attention when something doesn’t feel right, if you’re an expert.

Expert intuition is pattern recognition. 

#2. Acknowledge that intuition may be wrong, even if you’re an expert.

#3. Don’t rely on your intuition if you’re a novice.

#4. Having a feeling isn’t the same as making emotional decisions.

Emotional decisions cause harm. Remember that angry email you sent. What about the time your felt disrespected and lashed out?

What decision-making suggestions might you offer?

Added resource: Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein