s221 The human decision process is the design guideline for KiE-DecisionMaking

The human DecisionMaking process

The choice between at least two options is both general and misleading – misleading because the choice between two or more options would be a prioritization.

A decision in the strict sense means to initiate an action for or against an option. In KiE-DecisionMaking we call this type of decision – to distinguish it from prioritization – a commitment.

In fact, the choice between two options includes these aspects:
1. the result of the emotion system (1) with intuition and
2. the result of the cognitive system (2)

Prioritization decision

It is noteworthy that the second evaluation cycle (2) itself contains the result of the emotive-cognitive cycles. The conscious decision (3) is thus the last emotive-cognitive decision that has been assessed as coherent by the emotion system.

The dilemma of decision making is anchored in its very name. The art of good decision making consists of recognizing the emotive-cognitive cycles and the processual nature of decisions. Coming to or taking a decision would suggest that it already exists. In fact, an individual decision is brought about in cycles. This blueprint can be applied to both individual and team decisions. For this reason, the term DecisionMaking was chosen for the art of decision making; that is, it contains the making, the active bringing about of the decision and its processual character. The choice as well as the conflict between head (cognition) or gut (intuition) thus appear as a natural characteristic of the human decision-making process.

The logic of emotions is always at work in every decision because the emotion system is the first to be run through. Therefore, the emotion system is the origin and end of all thinking.

The emotive-cognitive decision

The preliminary results of the emotive-cognitive cycles – manifested in a coherent world view – become a conscious decision when the cycles are interrupted or ended and transformed into an action.

Emotive-cognitive cycles between the emotion and cognitive systems are usually run through several times in order to bring about a conscious decision from provisional decisions. With too few cycles a decision is frivolous; with too many cycles one steps aboard a carousel of thoughts and sometimes never reaches a decision. If one includes the action and effect as part of the decision, the conscious decision proves to be just a provisional one. In a coherent world view, the imagined effect can be adjusted. In later cycles, the decision can be corrected on the basis of the actual effect.

If one has decided for or against something, the emotion and cognitive systems have successfully been brought together in emotive-cognitive cycles into a coherent world view. Thus the “divorce” or separation is annulled.

A conscious decision is brought about when a “preliminary” decision is finally judged to be coherent by the emotion system. Thus, the cycle ends naturally.

For the conscious decision it is generally true that cognition would be dominant, or it would be chosen particularly consciously. However, it becomes conscious by virtue of the fact that the cognition has been activated by the emotion system.

If the decision does not succeed even in several emotive-cognitive cycles, the following paths remain:

  • a previously “thought” decision is chosen, even if it is accompanied by a feeling of disagreement
  • a new input for the cognitive and emotion system is found, which leads to a favorable evaluation of the emotion system
  • a justification is constructed which gives a better feeling to one of the decision options
  • the cycle is interrupted and in an ideation process an attempt is made to find a more coherent option

If the “provisional” decision is not followed up, which can also be accompanied by an unpleasant feeling, the conscious decision to do nothing is induced.

The conscious decision only really deserves to be called “conscious” when the intuition has been consciously integrated as a result of the emotion system. If this were to happen with individual and team decision processes, a step towards awareness and conscious decision and action would in fact be taken.

All individual decisions are produced from the same natural decision-making process.

Emotional agitation colors the forms of decision

Emotional agitation acts as a key variable in the various forms of decision-making. It can be used to create an initial categorization for the individual forms.

In the following article series DecisionMaking, the individual forms of decision-making are presented in articles.

More about the series of articles on human decision making

Further articles about the different human decision forms can be found after the source below under tags “Article series human decision forms“.

More about the series Artificial Intelligence

More articles about artificial intelligence and how it can be extended with KiE can be found after the sources below at tag “Artificial Intelligence“.


Februar 2020, Richard Graf und Elsa Graf

The human DecisionMaking process is the architectural plan
for all forms of DecisionMaking” – Richard Graf


GRAF, Richard. Die neue Entscheidungskultur: Mit gemeinsam getragenen Entscheidungen zum Erfolg. Carl Hanser Verlag München 2018.

“People make decisions and decisions make people.” Prof. Harmut Schröder

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