Thinking Traps Part 4: Emotional Reasoning 💭 | Coursera Community

Thinking Traps Part 4: Emotional Reasoning 💭

  • 16 October 2020
  • 14 replies
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  • What are thinking traps?
    Our thoughts drive our emotions, behaviors, and physiology. Thinking traps are “overly rigid patterns in thinking that can get in our way of resilience and well-being”. (This is based on the material presented in the resilience course.)

 

 

  • What is ‘emotional reasoning’? 
    It describes a situation when inner feelings shape one’s understanding about something or someone when in reality there is no evidence that can verify this perception. The person’s assumption is based on his/her emotional reaction rather than the truth.


    :writing_hand: Does it occur consciously or unconsciously, in your view? What’s your definition of rational thinking? Please feel free to share your thoughts and examples in the comments below. 

 


14 replies

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@Maryam 

Nice topic In my point of view rational thinking is a capacity to make sense of things and use a logical way to establish the facts. And one being rational is what do you want and what do you actually need to get in the correct way.  

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I can't really put myself in the shoes of people who suffer of panic attack. 
I don't feel saying something with the presumption to seem scientific.
I think anyway to K. Lorenz' - King Salomon's Ring:
I seem to remember that little ducks instinctively fear dark shadows.
It's about a true instinct, not an experience-based bias.
Humans also have such reactions, so
- do people sometimes experience "short-circuits"? 
have the correct evaluation, but the reaction goes out of control?

Once while working in a foreign place I was in a mountain city. Summer. 
Damn if I don't use my Sunday to climb.
My colleague said: "Be sure you have reference points". Mmm ok.
Climb, soul adventure, relax & sun. Mystic silence
When at coming back, I mistook a glide-start as a track.
Briefly I found myself lost and tired upon giant ravines. 
1) The peaceful silence turned into the loneliness of a real trouble.
2) Got my resources and climbed the way back.

Maybe I'm wrong but getting in troubles is the best thing to try.

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PS -- If I didn't already accross your series, I think this is the part that best deserves to quote a speech about Religions.

When talking about God, people often becomes nervous, rigid, unpleasant. Why is that? 

Because differently than for Santa, who cares, and from Cinderella -- was she the one eaten by the wolf? I am taught that I cannot rearrange stories about God. Because if this system of ethical beliefs changes, the Evil will hit me and my society.

But who said that religious SOCIAL VALUES must be necessarily accompanied by Superstition? because fear is the only reasonable way to control people, and in order for this to work, the idea of Divine punishment must be thrown in children's heart.

"I am God feared" = I am a trustable person, I am a good citizen.

When God is an image of a Parent that gives prizes or punishment, my reasoning will always cope with the fear of not being feeded as a consequence, and I must mirror back people's expectations. Otherwise I am cast away, dead. That's why people goes nut for God. 

You may say -- well, we're supposed to be a little beyond that, no? 

1) Say God = Money, and this was the first reply
2) Covid unveiled a strong tendency for people to head back to these beliefs

So is that a conscious or unconscious reaction? I think it's just illegal. Could we one day write it down clear that teaching superstition to children causes neurosis, therefore is a form of violence. If you also know what's going on in France right now.

But I’m not atheist. I think atheism can’t exist: we biologically are made to chase facts, to go beyond borders, I think God is right there, in my being curious and hungry, and Faith is there, when doing it for real. Not great things, just little significant steps. God is a tiny sparkle.

 
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I always enjoy @ATP ‘s discourse with Maryam’s post.  

My simplistic take on Thinking Trap Part 4, specifically on Emotional Reasoning is based from the little I know about people who are proficient in mindfulness from their meditation practice.  They would be able to detect “condition” rising, and therefore account for the reaction to their reasoning, manifested in thought, speech or action.  Thus, for most people without that proficiency, their emotional reasoning is based along the lines @ATP elaborated and some would not be able to explain.

That said, I recall what advertising professionals do to sell product and services by creating images, not infrequently subliminal messages that get people to buy, buy more, buy often.

With that, I would conclude that Emotional Reasoning can be at Conscious and Subconscious level for different people.  For people who are in touch with their feelings and be proficient in minding their emotions, they can factor in their Rational Thinking process in goal and outcome setting, fact gathering, analysis, planning, focus and execution of the plan to their desired outcome.   

Thanks for posting these Thinking Traps and probing questions, Maryam!

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@ele81946 I think Rational thought is meant for the ability to select what to focus on, but that Rationality (meant as Analytical thought), it too comes “as a consequence” of Contemplation. I mean, does anyone need to force digestion? no, because it is a consequence of eating. 

Let’s agree on terms. Contemplation may mean “watching clouds wasting time” (how I became an artist); nevertheless as “Observation without Thought” is the way how Nothing turns into Many: it is the way we start splitting an Object into many elements (Brainstorming) and start see a hidden pattern. Once we define this pattern (Abstraction), we can also rearrange the elements in a new shape. This is the Synthesis part and closes an organic-approach cycle. 

But for this to work, we need not to have unconscious presuppositions that make us blind. Because otherwise, Rationality takes the control over the organic approach and implements obsessive behaviors.

I know a proverb: Hunger makes Eyes larger than the Stomach. I think a lot of common personality disorders can be summed up this way.

The only “Rationality” here, is in creating false explanations to replace the originary reason, which in most cases it is the need of being esteemed by others , which means that we are not doing something we like: we forgot how to play with things and we slowly become “result-obsessed” (for this result to be judged by someone else), rather than “process-enthusiasts”, hence cooperation-prone.

Schools need to have this concept clear instead than treating personal hobbies as something that hampers learning.  

@Maryam

Nice topic In my point of view rational thinking is a capacity to make sense of things and use a logical way to establish the facts. And one being rational is what do you want and what do you actually need to get in the correct way.  

@Vasavi L, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think emotions are so tightly woven into our activities that it’s challenging to control interfering emotions, so to speak. Is it possible to entirely avoid emotions? Are thinking and emotions mutually exclusive? What do you and others think?

When talking about God, people often becomes nervous, rigid, unpleasant. Why is that? 

@ATP, this is probably why a discussion on religion is often avoided although it's not a forbidden topic. 

Thanks for analyzing how religious beliefs can shape thinking patterns from your perspective! Your post reminded me of Russell’s critique of religious beliefs: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.”

Religion is a tough topic to approach especially in a community like ours where people with all sorts of religious and non-religious beliefs might find it a sensitive topic. On the other hand, the wide range of backgrounds and beliefs can potentially make it a good place for exchanging ideas on this topic (in a friendly manner, of course! :innocent: ). So, I’d like to invite others who might hold supporting or opposing views to join in. 

That said, I recall what advertising professionals do to sell product and services by creating images, not infrequently subliminal messages that get people to buy, buy more, buy often.

With that, I would conclude that Emotional Reasoning can be at Conscious and Subconscious level for different people.  For people who are in touch with their feelings and be proficient in minding their emotions, they can factor in their Rational Thinking process in goal and outcome setting, fact gathering, analysis, planning, focus and execution of the plan to their desired outcome.   

Thanks for posting these Thinking Traps and probing questions, Maryam!

 

@ele81946, thanks for your input! It’s a perfect example. I agree that emotions are used commonly to affect customers’ decisions in the marketing world. 

In my view, sometimes we consciously or unconsciously get involved in rationalizing our decisions rather than making rational decisions. Now, it takes us to a deeper layer: Is emotion essentially an irrational thing? What do you and others think?

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@Maryam 

In my point of view emotions are vital part of human connection. People who are struggling with an anxiety or depression, it's not easy to overcome with their emotion but they can control their emotions. Even I also get depressed, it's not easy to overcome for me, but I can able to control the emotions through mindfulness meditation to easily overcome it with positive thinking.

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@Maryam I think most depends on the idea that God must be something “existing” otherwise it’s atheism. What if the essence of God was rather in its “non-existence” ? We took some time before acceptin the number 0 and the Infinite, and what about 4th dimension.

If this Universe is closed, how was it created? Don’t be lazy at thought! and think out of.. the box!

  • Hint: want to understand God? start understanding Women. 

Whether emotions are irrational. I agree with @Vasavi L 

I followed a course called “The Law of Attraction” by Asif Hussain, you may think it’s.. You’re joking don’t you? but it seems it says, if you cultivate a positive attitude, and you fix your mind in your dream -- and if your dream is an expression of your harmony rather than a rational obsession -- your life can become a reflection of that dream as well. I like to watch it just as a relaxing video.  

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@Maryam  Thanks for pointing out what we occasionally do, rationalize our decisions to lessen dissatisfaction from dissonance.    Most of us are driven by our emotions until we become mindful of it, and proficient at not letting emotion to dictate and cause oneself harm  I am glad to see that @Vasavi L am able to master it and not be stuck with the negative ones.

Since religion is mentioned in this thread, I would draw up what appears to me to be totally rational about suffering in the Four Noble Truth.  The first truth, Life is Suffering, is a fact of life.  The second truth, Suffering has cause, is as basic as Newton’s law.  The third truth, Suffering can be ceased, is basic logic.  And the fourth truth, Eight Fold Path is a method.  Totally rational, isn’t it?

Now, I also know about Mindfulness Meditation is an effective clinical treatment with many studies validating it ever since Jon Kabat Zinn introduced this protocol more than three decades ago.  Along the way, similar protocols have been introduced to help people to address problems, including but not limited to addiction, violence, PTSD etc.  Yet, not insignificant number of religious people reject it for fear of their faith be harmed.  So, there are plenty of case studies about emotional reasoning is not rational.

On the other end of the spectrum, emotion for most individual is a factor in rational decision if these individuals mindfully do so with full recognition of the pros and cons, and accept the outcome, including negative impact to their loved ones.

By the way, @ATP, on your Hint:  God and women are to be loved, not to understand:-)  

 

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 @ele81946 may I ask what you precisely love? 

God and women are to be loved, not to understand:-)  

I mean love is going beyond the limits, but limits exist only if we chase them. Expecting for something to reveal itself without being ready for that, after having known our own limits through accepting the challenges of life, always sounds me pretentious , superstitious and selfish. 

Please, define.

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@ATP  great questions that we must find anyway to avoid digressing too far from the original post on Emotional Reasoning.  On God, I would defer to what is in Wikipedia about the Love of God covering multiple religions.  

Separately, I agree on your view about rational obsession.  Harmony is a great dream and goal to work towards.

Thanks!

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@ele81946 ok, I'm sure I'd find a lot of interesting concepts in that article. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna suggests Arjuna that people don't really need to adhore “Krishna”, but rather, that when they love someone, that love is actually adhoring Krishna anyway.

  • One day I fell in love with a stranger. It was a frightening experience, and days afterwards I realized it perhaps was “love” because I had another look at the world, like if anything was a problem no more. Unfortunately I had to put my feet on the ground again, but it was nice.

Hinduism has an explicit way and say deities are not “figures” rather Allegories of the cosmic features; still, people tend to need a hand in hand with someone greater then them 

@ATP Your post reminded me of Russell’s critique of religious beliefs: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.”

so everyone, just as Arjuna needed it as he broke in tears (so Krishna said him that the world was only an Illusion), make gods become their Parent.

  • I'm totally sure that some people really fall in love with saints, THEREFORE I'm really hostile for a divine prize-punishment to be taught to children so that they grow up with a limit to freedom. 

However I didn't mean “love at first sight” when I talked about Women and God, but something related to the social role of women, but yes, the essence of this, is that the final comprehension is an ideal, THE ideal.  

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