The Psychology Behind “Following Heart vs Brain” Explained

The “Dual-Process” Model of Thinking, Self-reflection and Decision Making

In cognitive psychology, the “Dual Process” model reveals that we have two ‘parallel’ modes of thinking or reasoning. It explains how we have this “Follow Your Heart vs Follow Your Brain” phenomenon.

The idea is the heart and the brain represent these two modes of thinking. The thinking involves how we reason, think and make decisions about things. ‘Following the brain’ represents logic, consciously thought out responses.

The brain represents the “conscious or explicit” system associated with normal, conscious awareness for the reasons and decisions behind our behaviors. An example would be listing on paper or in your head the reasons why you like someone. 

On the contrary, the heart represents the “unconscious or implicit system.” This system can also make decisions and affect behaviors, but we are typically unaware of the process or reasoning. We only “know” the decision or behavior once it is made or happens. So for example, this is sort of like when you are infatuated with someone. You may or may not know why you are infatuated, but you are. And it is often after you are with this person that you begin to realize these feelings you’ve been having. 

Furthermore if you are ever lost about how you feel, and you have to decide between following your brain or your heart, studies suggests that you follow your heart because not thinking for ‘complex’ things such as feelings is more accurate of how you truly feel. In fact, if you try to use your brain and logically reason things out, you may end up distorting yourself.

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