There have been many attempts to computerize this process. These assume the mind has an algorithm it uses to make different decisions. Anyone who has spent a moment’s thought on this will see how inadequate such a theory is.
People function much like any other animal – deciding what they want, unconsciously, within milliseconds. Organizations spend a lot of money trying to influence these unconscious processes with their advertisements.
But the most important influence on decision making, by far – is social conditioning. We are social animals, and we learn what we are supposed to learn – a language, for example. And much else besides. We become like everyone else.
Like everyone else in our group – that is like everyone else in a larger group – and so on. This nesting of groups can be very complicated, and nearly impossible to decipher.
I will use my marriage as an example. Beth used me get what she wanted – the usual marriage dynamics.
She lived with me in NYC, and helped me spend the money I was making, working for the Navy on Long Island. Then she became afraid her family would find out she was living in sin – and we got married.
I married into two family groups – my own dysfunctional family – and hers, that was extremely dysfunctional! I was also working for the Military in the Cold War – more group craziness.
Her mental illness got worse and worse, and after five years of marriage, she had a complete collapse in Santa Barbara. CA, and ordered me out of her life! Two years later, she killed herself.
There was no conscious reasoning in any of this. But lots of complex group dynamics.
Without any advance planning, I have made our analysis of Decision Making even more complicated, by bringing in group interactions.
Life is complicated.