A few notes on cognition and decision making

Successful decision making in a social setting depends on our ability to understand the intentions, emotions and beliefs of others. The mirror system allows us to understand other people’s motor actions and action intentions. Empathy allows us to understand and share emotions and sensations with others. “Theory of mind” allows us to understand more abstract concepts such as beliefs or wishes in others.

In all these cases, evidence has accumulated that we use the specific neural networks engaged in processing mental states in ourselves to understand the same mental states in others.

However, the magnitude of the brain activity in these shared networks is modulated by contextual appraisal of the situation or the other person. An important feature of decision making in a social setting concerns the interaction of reason and emotion – we do more than respond to rational things rationally. Social motivations and emotions compete with each other, while higher-level control processes modulate the interactions of these low-level biases.  In other words, even the human mind works as a system of give and takes.  Better think of that when building a brand.

 

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Published by gavinjohnston67

Take an ex-chef who’s now a full-fledge anthropologist and set him free to conduct qualitative research, ethnography, brand positioning, strategy and sociolinguistics studies and you have Gavin. He is committed to understand design and business problems by looking at them through an anthropological lens. He believes deeply in turning research findings into actionable results that provide solid business strategies and design ideas. It's not an insight until you do something with it. With over 18 years of experience in strategy, research, and communications, he has done research worldwide for a diverse set of clients within retail, legal, banking, automotive, telecommunications, health care and consumer products industries.

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