Influence is rooted in decision making. What causes people to make decisions…good and bad.
Several years ago, one of my heroes, Antonio Damaso, came out with a theory that was dumb as dirt. He basically said that when you don’t have conscious information your emotions and feelings will guide you. i.e. “intuition” or as he called it, somatic markers.
Dr. Damaso is one of the smartest men on the planet but he was smoking something funny when he came up with this mumbo jumbo.
Another guy (who is not a hero) recently came out with a book called The Wisdom of Crowds. It’s all about how groups are going to make better decisions than individuals.
Bigger garbage. I mean, really big garbage. So big that you wonder how he got anyone to publish the book.
The reality is that without conscious mind information, the only decisions that are made well and quickly are those where the person has volumes of experience in. In all other areas, decisions made without information and based on emotion and intuition are met with total failure.
Similarly there are almost no situations where groups can do a better job at thinking than individuals.
Finally someone has done the research to begin to shed light on these ridiculous notions.
Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University have completed a study challenging a popular theory that claims bodily states can guide decision-making when conscious knowledge isn’t available. The paper, written by doctoral student Tiago V. Maia and James L. McClelland, the Walter Van Dyke Bingham Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, will be published online next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study examines the somatic marker hypothesis, which states that when an individual faces a decision, each alternative elicits a bodily state – a somatic marker – that corresponds to an emotional reaction. According to the hypothesis, these markers influence decision-making and can guide the individual to make an advantageous choice even in the absence of conscious knowledge to guide the decision. The somatic marker hypothesis was proposed by neurologist Antonio Damasio in his best-selling book, “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.”
Maia and McClelland found that in testing the hypothesis using a simple card game, Damasio and his colleagues used a test of conscious knowledge that was not sensitive enough to detect everything the participants knew about the game; thus, individuals may have been guided by their knowledge, rather than their bodily states. Maia and McClelland also reviewed other evidence used to support the somatic marker hypothesis, and found that, in all cases, recent results suggest alternative interpretations for that evidence.
“It is important to note that our results and review of related work do not prove that the somatic marker hypothesis is wrong; however, they do undermine virtually all sources of support for it. If the somatic marker hypothesis is to remain viable, new evidence to support it will be required,” Maia and McClelland said.
McClelland is the co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, which is run jointly by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. The Department of Psychology is one of eight departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.
How can you be sure of your decision-making abilities? Reading others can give you the edge you need.
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Over the past two years I’ve collected over 100 pictures of celebrities that I have analyzed for the media. Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, The Sex and the City girls, Drew Barrymore, Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Beyonce Knowles, Liz Hurley, Pamela Anderson, Stephen Spielberg, and dozens more.
Celebrities are the best people to study body language with because, like lawyers and politicians, they must cloak their feelings when in public. What is particularly helpful for you is that most of these photos are “candids” (not posed). That means you are going to learn to read people interacting in every day situations…while being under scrutiny of cameras and fans. The greatest challenge of all.
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