What effect do emotions and personal biases have on your thinking?

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Emotions, thinking, feelings, and our actions are all connected. I used to suffer from social phobia really badly. I couldn't leave the house without thinking that someone was going to say something mean to me and hurt my feelings. It seems like a minor fear, but I dealt with it for 20 years and rarely went out because of it. A counselor suggested that I keep a log of all of my outings and write down when something bad happened. After a few days I realized nothing bad was happening, it was all in my mind and it affected the way I lived my life for at least 20 years.

Strange; but the mind is very powerful. Thankfully, I really get out and enjoy myself now!

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I find that if I go into something expecting it to be bad, I will look for negative things.  For example, if we are going to a restaurant I don’t think I will like, I probably won’t find something good to eat there.  Yet, if I have an open mind I might actually enjoy myself.  Our biases are often based on vague reasons.  We may not like sushi, for example, but we have never tried it.  Thus, I am likely to react strongly to anything I feel emotional about, whether it is logical or not.

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When I reflect on this issue I find emotions/perspective to be impossible to divide from thinking. Our perspective, to some extent, isour thinking. Our emotions, to some degree, only exist insofar as we think about them. 

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Emotions and personal biases intrude on every aspect of human thinking, which is exactly why we have developed procedural disciplines (history, science, literary theory, etc.) to try to limit their impact. Certainly I have made many decisions based on emotion, and while I try very hard to be open-minded, it is difficult sometimes to get past personal biases. 

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I think that emotions and personal biases are often hidden from us--we don't realize how much they affect our thinking unless we are able to look at our own thought process very objectively. That's something that's difficult to do.


It's pretty easy to see the flaws in the thinking of others, but not in ourselves.

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I would agree with #2 regarding emotions.  An emotional "high" state can cause people to do things greater than they have ever imagined, while an emotional "low" can make even the most mundane tasks seem overwhelming.

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They have a major effect, I would think.  For example (with emotions) if I am dealing with my daughters and I anticipate what will go wrong or how they will annoy me, I'm ready for it.  But if I don't, my emotions take over.  I don't think as clearly and I can say the wrong things or act in the wrong ways.

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Emotions and personal biases have a profound effect on how you think about something and how you eventually act. Let me give you a few example. 

If a person is a racist and does not like a certain group of people, then he or she will have prejudices against that group in his or her decisions. If this person happens to be a a college admissions officer (as an example), he or she may not admit that group into the school. There will be other ramifications as well. His or her family perhaps would be influenced as well - the children may take on similar biases. 

A recent example can be seen in the IRS scandal. Some people in the IRS targeted organizations that were conservative in political outlook, and consequently gave them a harder time. 

In short, biases and emotions are powerful motivators. 

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