Decision-Making: Logic or Emotions?


Hi everyone,

I have been writing on the cognitive and emotional side of our stories of our own lives on my blog recently. So, I thought why not discuss it here.

The idea is that the mind and the heart tend to differ how they perceive the outside world. When the perception is through the mind, it goes through the filter of logic. What is logic? It is how we think the world works. When we say something is logical, we usually mean it is how we expect it to be based on what we have learnt about the world so far.

When the perception is through the heart, does it go through any filter? I am not sure. I can’t see any. But what I can see is that the story created by the heart tends to be blocked or manipulated by the mind. We listen to these stories through emotions. Let’s say that we feel like we like someone, but our mind might come up with many ‘logical explanations’ for why we should not like that person. His job, his background etc. Or we experience a minor problem, say an innocent misunderstanding between our boss and us, and then we might end up thinking that our boss hates us.

I tend to think that emotions are a better way to make decisions, because they seem purer to me. They seem unfiltered (unless we suppress them). I am not referring to just any emotion, though, as they change all the time. Emotions like ‘gut feelings’ or ‘intuitions’ or just very strongly felt ones are better guides than the mind. Believe me, I made many decisions based in such emotions and never regretted any.

I think the mind is a good decision-maker for everyday things because everyday emotions may not very good guides and because most everyday things need quick action (emotions are kind of slow). But for things related to my life in the long run (for example, what job do I want to have?), I prefer to go with how I feel. I will not evaluate a potential job position based on how much money I earn, how prestigious it is, but on whether I will like it or not. Of course, this is me speaking, as a person who does not need to feed any mouths.

Let me know what you think about decision-making based on logic or based on emotions. Are they mutually exclusive? In what ways is each helpful? Which one do you tend to use more when making decisions? Why? Let’s have a chat!


38 thoughts on “Decision-Making: Logic or Emotions?

  1. Hi Betul. I enjoyed your post. For me, I think trying to find a balance of both logic and emotion is key. (It’s also not the easiest thing to do!) In all of my decisions, whether they are big or small, I want to be level-headed, compassionate, and also remain true to myself. Sometimes it is difficult to achieve all of these in a single decision! I will be pondering this idea. Thanks for a thought-provoking read. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment! The way I found the balance is to use emotions for certain types of decisions (big ones) and logic for other things. Obviously, there is going to be both in each case but the big responsibility will be on one. That worked for me so far. Maybe it is different for everyone.

    1. The way I made them play well together is to separate when they have a say: big decisions are for emotions and regular decisions are for logic. But if I have multiple emotionally suitable big choices, then logic chooses among them (say, a few good job positions)

  2. I must agree with SnapDargonX – I try to balance them out. If I take an instant dislike to someone, why is that? Is it that they remind me of someone that I had a bad experience with, or is there something more subtle? I try to suss out both ends of the equation – logically just because someone smells of cigarettes does not make them a bad person. They have an addiction, and that’s only dangerous if I want to be around them when they smoke. So, that’s sorted out. Is this person being disrespectful to the other people around them – again, throwing logic in there. If someone is disrespectful to their group, it’s likely that they will be rude to me. So, the gut feeling of “Oh, this one isn’t to be trusted” can be broken into logical cues, that are processed faster than I actually think them through.

    1. I agree that in most cases this can be done. I had an sort-of dislike for someone for no apparent reason (we were incompatible but not in a way to dislike someone). Then we became good friends. I think I use gut feelings more for personal life decisions such as jobs. Personal relations are more tricky because there is someone else involved and I don’t know that person as I much as I know myself

      1. I’ve had jobs that I knew were going to be rough, even with all the sugar and spice of interviews. There was just something “off” about them – and if you asked me why I felt that way, I could not quantify it. There’s a level of gut logic when taking on a job, or getting into a house, that just condenses observations into a very tight head space.

  3. In the midst of job changes, and a potential career change as a whole, I have found that I need a balance. If I base everything off of logic (i.e. paychecks, means of living) than I would certainly find myself in the depths of depression. I am a person that works off of passion and is pushed forward into new light in adversity. I cannot work without emotion, I have never been capable of mindless work or jobs that didn’t align with my true values. But with that said, I also cannot function fully off of emotions either because I would find myself indecisive, irresponsible, and quite frankly- utterly exhausted. I have to balance a means of living through work with a passion for work. I also am learning to add a sense of logic to my relationships, because as an empath I need a healthy balance. I am more emotional than logical, but consistently working to find my peace within the combination.

    1. This is so well-described! I am still on the emotion side, although I tried to balance it in a different way: emotions for big decisions like choosing a job, logic for daily things. But the cut is not that clear because I end up having to use both. But I am definitely on the emotional side more than the logic side, just like you.

  4. Hi Betul, In my view emotions and logic are deeply intertwined. It’s kind of a big topic… but I might say that most emotions seem to have a kind of logic within them. I also see emotions as contributing to the mind’s perception, as well as to how one reasons (in a narrower sense of reasoning). So to me, I would have to say it appears like a false dilemma, logic or emotions. Although obviously, you are following an actual strategy based on real elements of your experience, and I don’t mean to dispute that in any way.

    I also think it’s an interesting strategy you describe — following more long-term emotions for large decisions, and thinking for smaller decisions. I almost wonder if the distinction between long-term versus momentary is more at the heart of your strategy than the distinction between emotions and logic?

    1. I believe that each human being is a whole in itself, so emotions and logic cannot be in conflict, at least not all the time. But they are also not the same. I agree that there is overlap between the two, but there are also ways they are different-which is why I think they operate in somewhat different areas at times. For example, I think emotions are the major tools connecting us to the spiritual world.
      As for your question: Can you clarify it? You mean that it is just how I chose to describe it rather than an actual distinction?

      1. Not so much that it isn’t an actual distinction — I also see a difference — but that maybe a distinction between long-term and short-term was central to your strategy? You seemed to say that momentary, quickly changing emotions are not the kind of emotions you prefer to rely on for large personal decisions. And, that thinking was often better for smaller decisions that need to be make frequently. So I thought maybe thinking was being preferred for frequent short-term decisions, whereas the purer intuitive emotions were preferred for infrequent, long-term or “big picture” existential decisions. I guess I was also assuming that the deeper emotion experience is closely tied to deeper, big-picture understanding or perspective, which thinking may often has difficulty accessing.

        I also may not have payed enough attention to your explanation of what you meant by ‘logic’.

      2. You actually got it perfectly right:) I used logic in the general sense: to refer to the tool we use to analyze situations without using emotions (i.e. by using thinking).

  5. Hello. I’m writing this email to make a request to be removed from the mailing list.Thank you for the regular emails but I think I would like them not mailed to me anymore.Thank you.

    On Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 6:02 PM Pointless Overthinking wrote:

    > Betul Erbasi posted: ” Hi everyone, I have been writing on the cognitive > and emotional side of our stories of our own lives on my blog recently. So, > I thought why not discuss it here. The idea is that the mind and the heart > tend to differ how they perceive the outside world” >

  6. I think I’m more of a logic guy. I think undergraduate and graduate school turned me into this sort of person. Critical/creative thinking has really become my modus operandi. I often distrust myself when I’m most emotional. That’s why I’ll never immediately respond to a person who I perceive has slighted me. I find that I’m terrible when it comes to knee-jerk reactions. I need to mull things over for a REALLY long time before I feel comfortable acting or reacting. Anyway, you’ve made me really look inside here. Perhaps I need to examine myself more deeply. Maybe there’s a flaw in my approach to rely so heavily on intellect and rationality. I do believe we have to allow ourselves to be emotional. But I think (at least for me) emotions are like a safety valve. They keep me from exploding and that’s their role. I’m probably all jumbled in my thinking and writing here, but that just shows how interesting your piece is. It’s got me examining and reexamining all sorts of things.

    1. I am very happy to hear that my post helped in some way. I am not perfect at immediate reactions, mainly because I am terrible at confrontations. But I think I have a good understanding of my emotions to understand what they are telling me and how they guide me. That is why I am not shy making decisions based on them. Rationality is helpful when the emotions are too wild or you don’t know how to read them. But I tend to trust my emotions more. Maybe not everyone is like that but you can examine your emotional side to understand to see how you like to be guided.

  7. Hey there! I might be a bit late to the party but that might not be such a bad thing. For me personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible for any human being to think logically in a way that’s completely devoid of emotional influence. From what I understand, our minds rationalize our thoughts so that they will be in alignment with what we are feeling while at the same time, certain thoughts can trigger respective emotions or feelings. They are very deeply intertwined and I honestly don’t believe one can function without the other. I think of it as emotions being the source and logic being the means. The source without means cannot act and means without a source will not act. With that in mind I do believe that indecision results from conflicting feelings where the most deeply ingrained feeling wins and the corresponding decision is made. I think it’s also important to know the difference between feelings and emotions, (and there is a difference as I’ve recently learned this past year) in order to fully assess the subject. At the moment, I’m reading a book called “Heaven and Hell: The psychology of the emotions” by Neel Burton and I find it to be thought provoking, might be interesting for anyone who wants to get a little deeper into the subject matter.

    Also, because I’m not gonna plug someone elses book without also mentioning my own, “Chronicles of Consonance and Chaos” is available on Kindle and Barnes&Nobles Nook I believe. At the moment anyone interested in a paperback must email me or tweet me @Kalybre.te on Twitter


    1. Thanks for sharing this great perspective and the books! I really like your point! I also believe that we are emotional beings deep-down and even scientists (who are expected to be objective) are in fact affected by their emotions when they make decisions. It is also nice that you combine emotions and logic as the source and the tool. Perfect! Thanks for sharing all!

      1. I love discussions like these, I don’t feel like the topic gets examined enough without overwhelming personal bias

  8. Beautiful post and thought provoking!
    I am on the path of balancing logic and emotions. For some people, my decisions pour out of my logics and for some; the decisions are dominated by emotions. I feel, every situation, person and condition contribute in the formation of decision. For example, if we take decision regarding a third person, we might tend towards logic more. But When the same decision has to be taken for someone very dear to us, we might get partial towards emotions. The reality is, sometimes at the time of decision making, I surpass my emotions and at times, I become their victim.

    1. I like that! You are very right that whether we choose logic or emotions depends on what the decision-to-be-made is. Everyone mixes logic and emotions at some level, but to different extents and in different situations.

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