â€œHow do thoughts affect our everyday choices?â€? BM GCE Lab School March 2019 Abstract Our thoughts affect the way we perceive the world and act. The are a couple contributing factors to that as well. Anxiety, personality, and emotional well-being all play a part in how we as a human species mentally function and take on everyday tasks which shape who we are today. In society, we see thoughts as both a positive and negative thing which subconsciously come naturally to mental processing but do we think about how our thoughts shape who we are, how to better control those thoughts, how to attract more with just the mind, or even the true power we have to change our lives by thinking about something? I interviewed a couple of participants who were open-minded to answering a few questions concerning anxiety, personality, and emotions with the intention of understanding more about how thoughts connect to how we function in society. The goal is to ask questions from a couple participants in order to figure out how those attributes play a part in the influences many are exposed to everyday and take on as a daily function.
Research According to Mission, the mindset of a person is very important and ideal to how we think as a species and why. What we believe plays a huge contribution to how we structure our physical, mental, and emotional world and there are multiple views behind this. 1 For example, Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” 2 From Gandhi's point of view, his thoughts lead him to holding a specific mindset towards moving forward and changing his or others reality based on the thoughts that he thought. There are other things that influence our thoughts as well such as self esteem, moral standards, peace, stress, success, failure, the impact of others, and more. Really, it all depends on what we do with the information we take in and the experiences we endure which help shape our personalities and who we sculpt our lives. Choices affect our lives whether we pay attention to the impact or not. They build a foundation to how we live and experience reality. Choices are what make emotions, personality, and anxiety grave influencers to the way we think. Our everyday experiences express that our emotions can influence decision making. Emotions play a role in this scientific belief. Topics which arise when we emotionally feel leading to the sculpting of our reality relate to constant moods, recalling of information from the memory, asking the constant subconscious question “How do I feel about this?”, and emotional charges which lead the mind to act on something. Some others which contribute to emotions would be inner insight, basing out experiencing off of how we internally perceive something in part of our lives, inspiring moments, and positive or negative experiences which could affect the mind and how it functions in reality. Many people experience the effects of anxiety and make choices which may not always be the best alternative to a problem they’re facing. It must be faced rationally and calmly because anxiety can cause stress, depression, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty in concentration, mental disabilities, memory loss, and more according to Karen Young. Anxiety rolls good decision-making by reducing the brain’s capacity to screen out distractions. Distractions can be physical, as in things in the environment, or they can take the form of thoughts and worries. Anxiety interrupts the brain’s capacity to ignore these distractions by numbing a group of neurons in the prefrontal cortex that are specifically involved in making choices. Thoughts, feelings and behaviour are connected and can influence one another. Therefore, reducing anxiety can be helpful when making general choices to impact our lives and our environments.
The personality of an individual plays a significant part in how one would form their everyday thoughts because it is the basis for who we are at the core and how we react to 1 Oppong, 2017. 2 Brief and Staw, 2011.
situations in our life whether those are obstacles or advances. The personality may include social governance, judgement, behavioral exposure, competence 3 (as found in the article https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019130851100013X ), resolving or cowering to conflicting pressures, and following ethical standards based on an environment 4 (as found in the article https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191308511000098 ). A quote which supports this statement by Arthur P. Brief and Barry M. Staw). There is another article which I found fascinating when it comes to the theory of how the brain molds everyday schedules according to patterns and societal status. “In this article, I develop a theory explaining how recurring patterns of leading–following interactions produce emergent leader–follower identities, relationships and social structures that enable groups to develop and adapt in dynamic contexts. In describing this emergent leading–following process, I attempt to shift the theoretical focus away from people as leaders or followers, and instead foreground the evolutionary value of a dynamic and fluid leading–following process. By emphasizing an interactive and contextually embedded process of leading and following in groups, this theory provides a theoretical basis for challenging the individualistic, hierarchical, onedirectional and de-contextualized notions of leadership that permeate the existing literature.”5 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191308511000086 ). It is something to ponder and pay attention to because personalities can be affected just by the leadership or pattern consistency of another.
3 Cuddy, Glick, and Beninger, 2011 4 Kreps and Monin, 2011 5 DeRue, 2011
Hypothesis According to the research and interviews conducted, I suspect that when individuals dive into their own motivations for emotions, mental stability, and personal connections the majority will change their everyday experiences to make their thoughts for a better sculpted reality. People adapt to their environment and the situation they are placed in. I feel most interviewee’s will respond to the guiding question “How Do Thoughts Affect our Everyday Choices?” with deep meaning and memories to connect the present outcomes of certain choices. Experiment Materials ● Electronic devices (I took notes digitally on a Google Document as I interviewed an individual about the experiment). ● Google Forms (this is an example of the questions conducted and answered). Procedure 1. I formed multiple questions which I have experienced or thought of off the bat. 2. I received feedback relating to those questions. 3. I conducted research relating to anxiety, personality, and emotions (as well as connecting personal experience). 4. I created a Google Form and sent out the final product to others. 5. I took the responses received and put together two graphs representing the thought process of those who filled out the form. 6. I then graphed those responses and later came up with a resulting analysis to my experiment. Data Graph 1 - Chart: Each participant interviewed provided different but similar responses which was then added to a Chart put together to represent each category (anxiety, personality, and emotion). Below are a few responses from Participant B, Participant D, and Participant E explaining the way they think which correlates with anxiety, personality, and emotions. Anxiety: Participant D: “Anxiety can affect a person’s mental state in a lot of ways but the most common is to shutdown their thought process. I triggers certain things inside of you that you don’t even know of.” Personality: Participant B: “I think in words. Words help me mentally prepare myself for situations and required activities.”
Emotions: Participant E: “Society can have an affect on the way we think and process things because we all have many things going on in our life like school, work and just processing information and a day-to-day basis and which it can be stressful at times.” Participant E: “Past experiences are constantly programming our beliefs, reactions, expectations and habits, which can change as we continue to have new experiences. They also mold us into who we are at any current moment.” Graph 2 - Pie Chart:
Analysis The purpose for forming a visual charted graph was to highlight each participants thought processes and dive deeper into how that relates to emotions, anxiety, and personality. The significance for each quote stated by the five participants was to bring attention to the huge influence of our thoughts and provide thought provoking insight to how we can improve our choices by the way we think. All three topics dealing with emotions, anxiety, and personality had different responses which was very surprising to me. Emotions centered more around how one participant felt, anxiety centered around the affects of the thoughts one participant experienced, and personality centered around how one deals with problems rather than the thought process which comes along with personality types. They were all different in description but similar in experience. The pie chart on the other hand was a little less hands on, but very beneficial because it represented the number of responses for each category and which one people agreed with more. It connects to the chart but portrays the interview responses differently. Conclusion In conclusion, thoughts do have an affect on the choices people make and within those choices come along with many factors which sculpt how we shape our individual lives. My hypothesis was correct. If I were to do this experiment again, I would change the way the graphs were portrayed/represented. I would also start the study by creating conversation with my intervieweeâ€™s as well avoiding sticking to a script. The more questions asked, the more someone would have to fish for mental responses that best fit that question. I thought this experiment was very insightful and open-minded towards the many attributes that come along with thinking. Every person is different not only based on anxiety, personality, or emotional states but because they each have different experiences which form who one might become. I discovered that every individual can be seen as very similar because of the structure of society and the connection we all have with one another. Finally, if I were to follow up with other curious studiers whom seek to learn more about this topic, the next steps I would take would be to email or come in contact with certain publishers relating to my thoughts on this subject. That way, I could come up with better structured questions and possess more knowledge on why thoughts affect the choices people make in their everyday lives.
Citations Arthur P. Brief and Barry M. Staw. "How Social Class Shapes Thoughts and Actions in Organizations." Research in Organizational Behavior. Elsevier, 11 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. BM. "Chart Maker." BEAM. BEAM, 14 Mar. 2019. Web. 15 Mar. 2019. Cramphorn, Spike. "Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking / Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious." The Journal of Advertising Research. Journal of Advertising Research, 01 Mar. 2006. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. Fenton‐O'Creevy, Mark, Emma Soane, Nigel Nicholson, and Paul Willman. "Thinking, Feeling and Deciding: The Influence of Emotions on the Decision Making and Performance of Traders." Journal of Organizational Behavior. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 25 July 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. Kahneman, Daniel, Alan B. Krueger, David A. Schkade, Norbert Schwarz, and Arthur A. Stone. "A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience: The Day Reconstruction Method." Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 03 Dec. 2004. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. Oppong, Thomas. "The Mindset Advantage (How Your Mental Frame Affects Your Behavior and Performance)." Medium. The Mission, 08 June 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2019. Peters, Ellen, Daniel Västfjäll, Tommy Gärling, and Paul Slovic. "Affect and Decision Making: A "hot" Topic." Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 03 Apr. 2006. Web. 13 Mar. 2019.
Ralf Erber & Maureen Wang Erber. "The Self-Regulation of Moods: Second Thoughts on the Importance of Happiness in Everyday Life." Taylor & Francis. Tandfonline, 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. Rottenstreich, Yuval, Sood, Sanjay, Brenner, and Lyle. "Feeling and Thinking in Memory-Based versus Stimulus-Based Choices." OUP Academic. Oxford University Press, 06 Dec. 2006. Web. 13 Mar. 2019. Schwarz, Norbert. "Emotion, Cognition, and Decision Making." Taylor & Francis. Tandfonline, 31 Aug. 10. Web. 13 Mar. 2019.