Lesson 1: Decision Making Process identifies the subconscious components of the decision making process.
There are 4 elements of the decision making process: Value, Energy, Consequence, and Morality.
If I give you the option to take a $1 bill, a $5 bill, or a $10 bill, which one would you choose?
Typically you would take the $10 bill because it has the greatest value.
This is the conscious representation of the subconscious process of value.
We perceive our environment through valued opportunity. Subconsciously, value is the anticipated feelings an act will produce. Money is the facilitator of objectives and a person will take the $10 bill because $10 has a greater capacity to produce good feelings than the $5 or the $1.
The first component of the decision making process is the highest valued objective furnished by your immediate setting. You do what feels the best based on the opportunities to feel good in your immediate setting.
The positive feelings produced by the act is weighed against the energy required to complete the act. Is it worth the effort?
For example, you’re driving down the street and you noticed a car has stalled in the middle of an intersection. What determines whether you will stop to help push the car across the intersection? Ideas you have associated with helping the person will supply value to the act. Although there is no expectation for compensation for performing the act, you may pull over and help because you will feel good for having helped this person. The value (good feelings) supplied by the act is greater than the energy required to complete the act.
However, the positive feeling motivating the act may be the avoidance of a negative feeling. Where a person has ideas concerning their responsibility to help that will produce negative feelings if they do not help. They help because the energy required is less than the negative feelings they will experience if they do not help, and the positive feeling motivating the act is the avoidance of a negative feeling.
Altruism or selfless acts do not actually exist. The feeling the act generates is greater than the feeling the individual can achieve through the substance sacrificed. If you give a homeless person $1, the feeling gained through that sacrifice is greater than the feeling the person can experience by applying that $1 to other purposes.
The decision making process begins with the highest valued opportunity furnished by your immediate setting in consideration of the energy required to complete the act. A visual representation would be to consider there is a $100 bill, a $50 bill, and a $20 bill in your immediate environment. These dollar amounts represent the value of feelings an act will produce. To procure the $100 feeling requires energy that represents $90 of the feeling, and the $50 bill $35 of the feeling, but $20 feeling only requires $1 of the feeling in the energy required to procure it. The highest valued object in consideration of energy required is the $20 feeling.
The value of the act versus the energy required is the second component of the decision making process.
If I asked you to rob a bank with me you would likely say no. Some would say no even if they didn’t believe there was a high probability of being caught and this is a moral objection that is distinct from an objection of consequence.
The answer would probably be “no I don’t want to go to jail”. The consequence is jail but this consequence is only relevant because jail is an obstruction to all other objectives. Long term objectives or those things possessed of great value to an individual are called anchoring objectives. Anchoring objectives are long term or recurring sources of great pleasure, like family, career, and other recurring and long term goals. The consequence of going to jail is only relevant because it obstructs service to other higher valued objectives, like the individual’s career, providing for one’s family, spending time with one’s family, and other objectives along those lines.
If the probability of the consequence is high, and the consequence severely obstructs the individual’s ability to fulfill anchoring objectives, the act becomes a question of the value of the act versus the value of anchoring objectives.
If you were seriously considering robbing a bank, you would probably have thoughts about how you were going to do it and these thoughts would serve the purposes of establishing the probability of being caught. You would probably have thoughts about being in jail, being away from your family, losing your job among other things. You would also have thoughts about having the money and what you would do with the money. As you imagined these things there would be feelings attached to these ideas. These thoughts represent the consideration of consequence, in the probability of the outcome, the severity of the outcome, and the value of the act versus the value of anchoring objectives.
Picture the consequence portion of the decision making process as standing on one side of a canyon and the act is to cross to the otherside of the canyon. The severity is the depth of the canyon and the probability of the outcome is how wide the canyon is. If the canyon is 1000 feet deep this is a severe consequence should you fail to cross the canyon. However, if the canyon is only 1 foot wide the severity is irrelevant since the probability of failing to cross the canyon is perceived as being 0.
When someone’s partner finds out they’ve been cheated on, their perception of the incident is usually that they believe the person who their partner cheated with is of greater value to their partner than they are. There’s often thoughts and comments that she’s more important to you than me, or more important to you than your family and this usually wasn’t the element of the decision making process that caused the individual to proceed with the act of infidelity. The individual just thought the probability of being caught was too low to have to consider the severity of the consequence. If probability is low we do not give weight to severity.
The decision making process begins with the highest valued objective (Value). Then the energy required for the act versus the value of the act(Energy). If there is a consequence to anchoring objectives, the probability of that consequence is considered. If the probability is high that the consequence will occur then severity is considered. If the probability and the severity are both high, the value of the immediate objective is considered versus the value of anchoring objectives that are likely to be obstructed by the immediate act.
For some of you, if I asked you to rob a bank with me and it was a sure thing that we wouldn’t be caught, despite the value of the money, some of you still would not rob the bank because you believe the act of stealing is wrong. In the decision making process, at the point of intention there is a negative feeling imposed when a person intends to commit a morally wrong act. This feeling is imposed to prevent the person from committing an act that will reduce his or her self worth. If you believe the act is wrong and you commit the act you see yourself as being wrong and you feel bad about it.
This is different from the negative feeling of committing an act where there are consequences to anchoring values. That feeling is fear, the uncertainty of not knowing if your interests will be harmed by the act you are about to commit. If you don’t experience the negative consequence, then there is no negative feeling. Whereas committing an act you believe to be immoral will lead to negative feelings, typically guilt, until 1: you’re able to justify the act to yourself, 2: enough time passes where you no longer associate yourself with that version of you who committed the act, or 3: until you change your morality and no longer see the act as morally wrong.
Simple Decision Example
The decision making process is value versus, energy, consequence, and morality. Where there are no consequences or violations of morality, there are no thoughts related to it.
For example, if a person is lying on the couch and they want a glass of orange juice, the decision to complete the act is the value of the orange juice versus the energy of procuring the orange juice. The thought signatures may be imagery of the juice and anticipating the experience with the juice based on past impressions from the juice. This may be followed by images of the process of getting the juice. Getting up, walking to the kitchen, opening the cupboard, retrieving a cup, opening the fridge, retrieving the juice, pouring the juice in the cup, returning the juice, closing the fridge, and then walking back to resume comfort increased by the presence of the juice. The thought isn’t likely to include all those points but some of those points may appear as images in the mind while a person considers the value versus effort. There are no thoughts related to the consequence of getting the juice because there are no consequences of the act that obstruct the procurement of higher value objects.
Unless there isn’t much juice left and the individual is without the immediate means to purchase more juice. A thought of consequence would consist of the value of the juice now, versus the value of the juice at a later time. The thoughts would likely consist of images of the present circumstances and future circumstances, and probably an internal monologue to consciously establish the value of consuming the juice now versus consuming the juice later. Thoughts of drinking the juice now, contrasted with eating breakfast in the morning and imagining how the juice would compliment the flavors of your breakfast.
No morality is considered because the act is not imposing. Unless of course the juice in the fridge belongs to a roommate. Then morality will need to be overcome. The moral signature will be either a thought to contact the roommate to ask if it is okay to drink the juice, or more likely some justification like he or she won’t care, won’t notice, or the taker will replace the juice. Why would a person think these things? Because most people believe that taking something that doesn’t belong to them is morally wrong, so to proceed with the objective the person has to make the wrong act right. Permission is what is required for the act to be morally right, but justifications for small moral infractions typical suffice.
1: How does the subconscious mind determine the value of an act?
2: A friend calls you and asks if you will help them move. You think about how much stuff they have and how hot it is. (a)What element of the decision making process are these thoughts related to?
You also think about how appreciative your friend would be for your assistance. (b)What element of the decision making process is the previously stated thought?
(c)What will determine whether or not you help your friend move, based on only those two pieces of information?
3: A skateboarder is going to attempt to grind a hand rail. The act has a consequence that harms an anchoring value. The consequence is an injury that could prevent him from skateboarding and obviously skateboarding is the anchoring value as an activity that he derives regular pleasure from. Using each component of consequence, explain why the skateboarder will proceed with the attempt. Probability of the outcome, severity of the outcome, and how the value of the immediate act could be greater than the value of the anchoring value.
4: Describe the thoughts you had while making a decision. If you don’t have any reliable memories, you make decisions all day long. After some decision where you can remember what you were thinking and feeling, share those thoughts and explain what element of the decision making process that those thoughts were a product of.
5: Why is time not an element of the decision making process?
The person whose answers best demonstrate an understanding of the decision making process will receive $20. Send answers in word doccument to email@example.com Questions concerning the material may also be directed to this email address.
The contest closed and the winning answers along with the correct answers are posted at: L1 Decison Making Answers