Are You Using “Motivated Reasoning”?

What’s “Motivated Reasoning”? “Motivated Reasoning”says James Ragonnet is a term used by social psychologists and cognitive scientists – denotes making wrong-headed decisions based on emotion – not logic.

By understanding the dangers associated with “Motivated Reasoning”, golfers can enhance their performance, make better decisions, logically evaluate competing methodologies and build a scientific platform for their swing.

“Motivated Reasoning” - a flawed, dangerous and unconscious justification strategy - induces people to harbor false beliefs despite an over-abundance of logical evidence to the contrary.

Essentially, “Motivated Reasoning” shuts down logical inquiry. Rather than searching rationally and intelligently for information that either confirms or disconfirms their beliefs – golfers who employ “motivated reasoning” seek out only information that confirms what they already believe.

“Motivated Reasoning” - a cognitive strategy, habit or tendency - prevents you from weighing new information and making rational calculations.

Recently, cognitive scientists conducted neuro-imaging studies to map the neural circuitry of individuals employing “Motivated Reasoning”. Neuro-imaging studies by researchers Alan Gerber and Donald Green revealed that “motivated reasoning” occurs in areas of the brain associated with Emotional Thinking – not with Logical Thinking.

In other words, “Motivated Reasoning” occurs in your brain’s emotional center where feelings – not logical thoughts – evaluate information, perceive facts and weigh evidence. “Motivated Reasoning” produces emotionally biased decisions and reinforces false beliefs.

Every time you have an emotional stake in a decision or conclusion – for example, when you’re deeply invested in preserving your beliefs and defending your position – you’ll resort to “Motivated Reasoning” even if the facts contradict your cherished beliefs and positions.

“Motivated Reasoning” induces several key problems:

1 - Biased information search in which you seek only information congruent with your beliefs.

2 - Biased assimilation in which you incorporate only selected information.

3 - Identity-protective behavior in which you protect yourself from stress, dissonance and anxiety by rejecting contradictory information.

“Motivated Reasoning” is like binge eating to relieve stress.

It’s a psychological defense mechanism to purge uncomfortable, contradictory and troublesome information that threatens your core beliefs.

Develop the habit of asking yourself logically, unemotionally and honestly why you have accepted and adopted certain swing practices and methods and most of all if they bring you what you expect. Challenge your established beliefs.