Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? Pt. 2

Yesterday we posted an excerpt from The Market Research Event keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen’s Vohs’s book ‘Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? A Hedgefoxian Perspective.’ As promised, here’s the 2nd portion of the excerpt from the book. Enjoy! Of course the foxes are right; each of these polar positions is simplistic in its extremity. But that observation doesn’t take us far. In the waning hours of the emotion research party, we have arrived at the point where debates between extreme and obviously untenable positions are not as productive as they once were. In short, we need answers to the when question. When do emotions or cognitions predominate? When are moral judgments driven by reflexive emotional reactions and when by logical thought? And, when are emotions helpful or harmful? The chapters of this book provide nuanced, synthetic, answers to these types of questions. Decision making is the other half of our topic. It too has seen explosive growth in research interest in recent years. As with emotion, its few early hedgehogs (e.g., groupthink, rational choice, framing) have had to withstand a stampede of foxes. Some decision-making researchers are starting to think that their field’s destiny is merely to develop lists of departures from rationality, without much prospect of integrative theory. Yet others are confident that new grand theories will emerge. The time is ripening for hedgefoxes to impose limited order on decision theory also. Are hedgefoxes born or made? Most likely, the latter. What emerges from reading this book is common language, a shared understanding of a number of issues, and most characteristically of hedgefoxism, a nuanced theoretical perspective that makes sense of, what had previously appeared to be contradictions. So what is the answer to the question of whether affect helps or hurts decision making? The hedgehog would argue either that it helps or that it hurts decision making. The fox would argue that both are true, or that the question doesn’t make sense. The hedgefoxes who make up the authors of the chapters in this book will tell you, however, that the correct answer is “it depends.” If you want to know what it depends on, read on.