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Jumana Bitar

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Are emotions essential for making rational decisions?

Emotions are embedded in humans. If we can't control them, does this mean we wont be able to make rational, wise decisions? Can we even control them?

Topics: psychology

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  • Jan 27 2013: Thanks for challenging me Jumana.We are driven by emotions, emotions and reason, and just reason depending on the circumstances. I was really referring to a subset of decision making that doesn't activate the limbic system and just involves reason. Example - Can I help two people or one person with this one hundred dollars? Do I want two scoops of ice cream or one (quantity, reason) versus do I want vanilla or chocolate (limbic, emotion)? The out of control trolley car question posed by Micharl Sandel from Harvard College at the beginning of his "Justice" course is another example of this. No limbic system involved in the first question while limbic system involved in the second question (based on scientific research). The students answer his first question easily but feel uncomfortable with the second question because it no longer feels right even though the same underlying principal holds true! (There was or is a benefit from an evolutionary perspective for our inconsistency in adhering to that one principal.) Good luck!

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      Jan 27 2013: I see what you mean now.Thank you! and i made a mistake it's Daniel Goelman not David, sorry. Have a good day

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