The Rationality Behind People’S Decisions

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The rationality behind people’s decisions

In all aspects of life, we must face many decisions and problems that must be solved daily. Leaving the possibility that we can ask ourselves how can we be more aware and a more intentional actor on the scenario of daily life?, What were the causes of our judgments and behaviors?, How do we know that these inferences are correct, instead of simply telling us a story that ourselves to satisfy our desire for answers?

In any case, through our ability to reflect, we can infer the causes of our behavior, but we cannot recognize the influences of “subtle” factors that surround us and shape our behavior. On the other hand, it has been heard that what differentiates us from animals is our ability to reason, being understood by rationrelates to intuitive and trial decision making.

Simon (as cited in Fonseca, 2016) argues that rationality is restricted due to external social limitations and internal cognitive limitations and, the irrational term applies to decisions that respond to emotions.

However, classical theory assumes that people decide as a chess player who makes a movement anticipating others from a strategy and knows the probability of each of the possible results predicting each movement of the other player on a board of64 Casillas, where it seems to have control, time management, calculation, analytical thinking and information;In which rationality is based on a context of certainty, but certainty is not necessarily within human rationality, much less in the world in which we live, every time so changing and unpredictable.

So, the intention to make rational decisions can be lost with the reality and circumstance we face, the problem is when we are in situations of uncertainty, in which we can find ourselves limited because in the real world there are not always the best conditions to thetime to make a decision and the best information;It presents limitation of time, cognitive limitation, and much less know all the alternatives, because of this we are conditioned by our inability to process all the information. In this sense, rationality is reflected in the best way to behave in order to achieve goals and objectives within the limitations and conditions to which we are subject.

Also, Simon (as cited in Fonseca, 2016) expresses that:

Rationality is limited by the lagoons of knowledge, but also by individual aspects of human beings. People reflect biases and have preferences for a certain type of information and decisions, getting to ignore information, and worse, to misrepresent information with the purpose that it is framed within what we believe. Rationality will be affected as the human being fails to evaluate the facts and the identification of the objectives. The instincts, the hearts, the personality, the emotions, the perceptions, the habits, the skills, the purposes and other subjective factors contribute to a decision of not necessarily rational.

In other words, our formation, the environment, beliefs, culture, experiences, among other factors determine the way in which we analyze the information and make decisions;Therefore, given the same situation, decisions can change from the different perceptions of individuals and even in the same person can vary according to the moment.

Even so, we will not know the consequence or the type of result of our decisions until we take them, and there is also nothing that guarantees us that under the conditions in which the decision was made they can be the same, it is assumed that there area risk.

Simon (as cited in Fonseca, 2016) in his administrative book Behavior (1957), presents that the rationality in the decisions of individuals is affected by three conditions: first, by the skills, habits and unconscious reflections;Second, for their values and conceptions of purposes, which can collide with the objectives of the organization and third, due to their extension or limitation of knowledge and information.

That is, when making a decision there are limitations, as previously commented, only part of the information (limited knowledge), difficulty anticipating and considering all possible options, limited time, impossibility of impossible, impossibleProcess all available information, inability to meet and analyze all information simultaneously. In the middle where we develop does not lead people to make a perfect and optimal decision but an alternative that is satisfactory and like more.

Many people use intuition to make decisions, to (Kahneman, 2003) The ideas that guide us are most of the judgments and elections that we make intuitively and;The decision process consists of two systems of thought: one, the intuitive and the other, of reasoning . The reasoning is deliberately and with much effort, while intuitive thinking seems to be presented spontaneously in the mind, without calculation or conscious search, and effortlessly and with emotional basis.

Indeed, emotions are incorporated into the behavior of human beings and it is common to recognize in others emotions when making a decision. So the more entrenched are emotions, the more irrational we must be.

Even intuitive people who are more aware of nonverbal signals can see relationships, information and possibilities where others cannot understand. And being certain in intuition is the result of experiences, so it can be established that the decision -making process not only depends on information and rationality, but also the knowledge that is obtained by experiencing different situations. In other words, the decisions we make today depend or have an impact on tomorrow and their results or consequences. These are also influenced by the environment and the context in which they are taken, so it can be concluded that the process that leads to make a decision not only depends on objective information, and on rationality, but also on the knowledge thatThey have the world, the intuitive capacity of each person, the interrelation with past experiences, current experiences and the perception of the future determine the decision making.


  • Kohan cut, n., Macbeth, g. (2006). Cognitive biases in decision making [online]. Psychology Magazine, 2 (3). Available at: https: // repository.UCA.Edu.AR/HANDLE/123456789/6131
  • Fonseca, c. (2016). Decision making: Rational or limited rationality theory? Kalathos, 7 (1), 1-13.
  • Kahneman, d. (2003). Limited rationality maps: Psychology for a behavioral economy. Speech delivered in the Act of Delivery of the Nobel Prize in Economics 2002. RAE: Asturian Magazine of Economics, (28), 181-225.

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