Saturday, December 27, 2014

End-year special: How emotions play a part in decision making(3)

An inference is a conclusion drawn from evidence or reasoning. In this case, the evidence and reasoning are responses to an initial perceived emotion.

We can make inferences about others feelings, we interpret what messages is conveyed by the nod of a head, a gentle smile, a stolen kiss, which influence us, the observers. The inferences could be wrong or right depending on the circumstances. An example could be taken from culture shock, the impact you feel when you enter a culture very different from your own. An example is that Asians consider it rude to meet gazes too long (longer than a second), however, it is just the opposite in some western countries. So when a westerner meets an Asian, the Asian thinks the westerner is rude, the westerner thinks the Asian is sneaky. Some more examples from the website:
In Argentina, the usual way of greeting among friends and family is a kiss on the cheek…

Don't ever kiss an Indian.... There is no such provision for kissing a person to greet him or her. It is considered as a sexual act.
Inferences drawn from observed emotions shape our behavior. Some persons interpret guilt as a need for approval, that the expresser wants the relationship to continue while others perceive guilt as emotional blackmailand would completely reject such emotions. Non-verbal cues can be used to express the emotions of power and dominance. In rounds of negotiations, the emotions expressed by an opponent can lead negotiators to discover win-win agreements that satisfies all concerns. Emotional intelligencecan impact on a leader’s ability to be effective and can be used by followers in a business environment to draw inferences about their performance levels.

Students in school are particularly keen in observing the emotions of their lecturers. A smile or a nod of the head is all the encouragement a student needs sometimes to outperform others in group-based learning.

Therefore, by eliciting a second emotional response or helping the observer to make inferences based on how they read the emotions, emotions do help in decision making.

That brings us to the fourth blog article in the series, Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

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