s252 The irrational decision is an emotive-cognitive decision

Every human decision is irrational

The irrational decision is the normal case of human decision. It got its name from Greek philosophers like Aristotle. The human decision appears irrational if it deviates from or contradicts a decision assumed to be rational. Behavioral economics often identifies the irrational decision in deviation to statistical probabilities.

Strictly speaking, every decision is irrational because the rational decision does not exist. However, the reasoning that would make it rational in a broader sense would also arise from emotive-cognitive cycles.

Behavioral Economics
Figure 01: The behavioral economics

All decisions are emotive-cognitive

To describe the irrational decision as something that contradicts something else has always been an unfortunate choice and has led to many distortions over the centuries. For a few decades now, it has become impossible to ignore the fact that the rational decision does not exist. With this knowledge it is no longer useful to define the irrational decision as something that contradicts something else that does not exist. In order to avoid ignorance and rejection, it should be called what it is: an emotive-cognitive decision.

This only slowly gaining acceptance that all human decisions are emotive-cognitive seems to be the central reason why many people do not want to, cannot or are not allowed to say goodbye to the rational decision under all circumstances.

Artificial intelligence thus lacks the sustainable design

The emerging artificial intelligence is facing a mammoth task here. On the one hand, current AI algorithms still contain rational approaches. On the other hand, the emotive-cognitive decision has not yet been handed down. As a consequence, AI architects and engineers do not yet have a chance to implement the new findings in AI. The heated discussion and diverse prognoses about AI, which are ultimately based on an unsustainable concept, are therefore of little use.

Emotions work in every human decision     

The logic of emotions works in the irrational as in any other form of decision. The emotional arousal and the decision itself as well as the feelings that sometimes accompany it indicate how strongly the logic of emotions works. If the emotional agitation is low or if the emotion system can handle the situation, no feelings are perceived.

If, despite this, deviations from rational approaches occur when the emotional arousal is low (arousal), this is called cognitive dissonance. With the rise of Behavioral Economics, this is called cognitive bias. Both only indicate the logic of emotions.

The irrational decision
Figure 02: The irrational decision

The irrational decision in distinction to the non-existent rational decision should be completely abandoned. The name emotive-cognitive decision would consistently reveal its origin.

Emotive-cognitive decisions with high emotional arousal

The emotional and affective decision is generally classified as irrational decision. From the point of view of the inseparability of emotion(E), intuition(i) and cognition(K), the KiE-trilogy, it is an emotive-cognitive decisions where the logic of the emotions is dominant with increasing arousal.  

The lack of classification of intuitive decision, especially of autopilot and biological reactions, within the sciences reveals the lack of an accepted concept of human decision forms. With the emotive-cognitive decision, which arises in cycles, all human decision types receive their corresponding explanation and classification. 

emotional agitation
Figure 03: The emotional agitation

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“.


März 2020, Richard Graf und Elsa Graf

Every human decision is irrational.” Richard Graf


ARIELY, Dan. Predictably irrational. New York, NY: Harper Audio, 2008.

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

KAHNEMAN, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow (Kindle Edition), 2011.

SIMON, A. Herbert. Administrative Behavior. A Study of Decision-making Processes in Administrative Organization…. Macmillan, 1965.


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