Emotions: The new rationality!!

A few days back, I just sat thinking – what drives emotions, not only personal but the business decisions? There has been a paradigm shift in the way business is driven; not just by logic but by emotions as well. Infact, logic is a subset of emotions. Had it not been so, the same person, in the same environment, would not have different productivity on different days!

Brain is what makes you think rationally and your heart is behind your emotional decisions!! This is what I had known since my childhood. But this belief of mine was lately shattered in the SPJCM HR classes. Firstly, it’s not your heart behind your emotions – it’s your amygdala – the goose bumps you feel, the shivering, anger, love, hatred – all is triggered by amygdala – the place where emotional states are stored as memories. So the red heart people exchange on Valentine’s Day is not the one that triggers love.

Human beings are more or less rational in their behavior. Antonio Damasio, a Portuguese biologist, found out by experimenting on his patients that the ones whose amygdalas were damaged demonstrated irrational behavior. They did not display normal emotional reactions such as fear or thrill after reading a horror story or for instance affection towards their spouses and children was also missing. A man with a damaged amygdala might not experience fear or display panic, even in the front of a lion. Thus it is the amygdala that brings rationality to ones behavior and a loss of emotionality is what leads to irrationality.

However, a person who has been hijacked by emotions might display irrational behavior. For example, a person who is drowned in his own thoughts might not return a smile to his colleague. That colleague might just look for an opportunity to take revenge on this person. So, I think that rationale behind rationality is not an outcome of logic but of emotions.

Vinny@gloconomics.com

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