Physiological Aspects in the Decision-Making Process

Physiological aspects lurk as stumbling blocks in the decision-making process. First, there are perceptual filters. We perceive what we focus on. A natural protective mechanism does not allow other information to reach our brain. We can scope with such human deficiencies by practising an agile planning by means of the beyond budgeting method.

Example: There is an experiment on this phenomenon in which spectators are asked to count the number of passes performed by a basketball team wearing a white jersey. Hardly any spectator perceives a person dressed as a bear dancing all over the court. This is due to the fact that the spectators were focused on their task.

This phenomenon can lead to entire organizations not noticing market developments that threaten their existence or unique market opportunities. Therefore, make sure that decisions in your organization are made from a relaxed atmosphere where “the bear” can be seen.

When threatened, people tend to make spontaneous decisions without thinking. This is also a protection that nature has embedded in us. Everything is reduced to the decision between attack and flight. However, our world has become more complex, and we are no longer in a jungle either. Take time for proper analysis to make your decisions better.

In addition to pure reflex, neural priming of synapses in our brain (priming) can also lead to unreflective decisions. We work through proven solution patterns instead of freely dealing with new situations. Thus, the situational context (framing) can also lead to wrong decisions. After a first glance, we believe we have already experienced such situations and solve them mechanically without taking a closer look at the situation.

Sometimes artificial contexts are created in our brain, but they do not correspond to reality, such as “All blondes are stupid.” Occasionally, artificial causal correlations are also interpreted. Pure correlation, i.e. a coincidental concurrence of observations, is confused with causality, i.e. a cause-effect relationship between observations. Such logical fallacies lead to wrong conclusions and to wrong decisions, which you should beware of.

Most people have loss aversion. Avoiding risks is worth more to them than making profits. Their decisions will therefore tend to be defensive. Entrepreneurship, however, thrives on taking calculated risks and profiting from them.

Note also that emotions, how you feel on the day, and motivation can influence decisions.

Decisions are therefore probably never rational; neither are the decisions of others. If you keep this realization in the back of your mind, it can help you make decisions.

The communication culture also has an impact on the way decisions are made and on the quality of decisions.


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