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Understanding Emotions

Emotions are intense feelings that are directed toward someone or something. I express emotions when I’m angry at my landlord, fearful of losing my job, or happy about my daughter’s good grades in school.

The rational model of decision making downplays the role of anxiety, fear, frustration, happiness, envy, and similar emotions. Yet it’s naïve to assume that decision choices aren’t influenced by our feelings at a particular moment. Given the same objective data, we should expect that people may make different choices when they’re angry and stressed-out than when they’re calm and collected. And some people are much more likely to let their immediate emotions shape their decision choices than are others. Negative emotions, for instance, can result in a limited search for new alternatives, a less vigilant use of information, or the desire to make a decision too quickly.


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