By Linda Fisher Thornton
When we make decisions based on FEAR, our brains switch on the lower-level processor – which makes decisions based on a FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT response. The decision-making power of that part of our brain is extremely limited, turning our thoughts to lower level responses like “RUN!” or “HIT THEM FIRST.” Obviously, ethical decisions must be based on better thinking than “RUN” and “HIT THEM FIRST.”
Fear is a Poor Advisor
Our fear response takes us into PROTECT and DEFEND mode, and that mode causes us to shelter in place, retrench and protect our own interests. It drastically restricts the breadth of our thinking and doesn’t give much energy to thinking about our impact – what our choices will do to others.
Fear may generate feelings of anger as we turn our energy to “protect and defend.” Anger, like fear, is a poor advisor that pulls us away from ethical choices.
“Anger results in systematic processing of anger-related information and selective use of
heuristics to evaluate information… This kind of processing is less than optimal for making ethical decisions because it induces biased, risky, and retaliatory thinking (Moons & Mackie, 2007).This type of encoding and use of social information results in alimited, self-focused interpretation of the situation, which has the potential to result in retaliatory or self-serving behaviors.” (Lenhart & Rabiner, 1995).Kligyte, Connelly, Thiel & Devenport, The Influence of Anger, Fear, and Emotion Regulation on Ethical Decision Making, Human Performance,Vol. 26, Iss. 4, 2013
Subscribe to this Blog For a New Thought-Provoking Article Each Week!
Special 5 Post Series Celebrating the Second Printing of 7 Lenses:
© 2018 Leading in Context LLC