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Pages Front Matter Pages The Concept of General Systems. Mappings and Constructions of Systems. Hierarchies—Construction of Large-Scale Systems. Limit Systems. Systems of Single Relations.

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The Feedback Mechanism. Properties Invariant Under Feedback. The heart rate deceleration curve for the trials in which a negative emotionally arousing photo would be seen in the future diverged from that of the trials that contained a calming future picture sharp downward shift about 4. The emotional trials ERP showed a sharp positive shift about 3. The time difference between these two events suggests that the heart received the intuitive information about 1.

Heartbeat-evoked potential analysis confirmed that a different afferent signal was sent by the heart to the brain during this period. Even more tantalizing are clear indications that the heart receives intuitive information before the brain and that the heart sends a different pattern of afferent signals to the brain prior to an adverse future event that modulates the frontal cortex, as assessed with heartbeat-evoked potential analysis.

In addition, when study participants were in a coherent state prior to the experimental protocols, they were significantly more attuned to the information from the heart. What is meant by terms such as intuitive heart or heart intelligence is what we call the energetic heart, which is coupled to a deeper part of one's self. Although these functions have loose correlations with biological activity patterns, they nevertheless remain covert and hidden from direct observation.

Several notable scientists have proposed that such functions operate primarily in the frequency domain outside of time and space and have suggested mechanisms as to how they can interact with biological processes. As discussed elsewhere, the physical heart has extensive afferent connections to the brain and can modulate perception and emotional experience. At the Institute of HeartMath, we call this heart intelligence.

Heart intelligence is the flow of higher awareness and intuition we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into synchronistic alignment with the heart. When we are heart-centered and coherent, we have a tighter coupling and closer alignment with our deeper source of intuitive intelligence and are able to more intelligently self-regulate our thoughts and emotions, which over time lifts consciousness and establishes a new internal physiological and psychological baseline.

The research on heart-brain interactions and intuition has informed the development of a set of self-regulation techniques, known as the HeartMath System. One of the techniques, called Freeze Frame, 73 , 76 is a five-step process for improving intuitive capacities, stopping energy drains, and obtaining greater clarity and finding innovative solutions to problems or issues.

Studies conducted across diverse populations in laboratory, organizational, educational, and clinical settings have demonstrated that these coherence-building techniques are effective in producing both immediate and sustained reductions in stress and its associated disruptive and dysfunctional emotions, together with improvements in many dimensions of health and well-being. This article explored different perspectives about the nature and types of intuition, and the connection between intuition and lifting consciousness were discussed.

It was suggested that increased effectiveness in self-regulatory capacity and the resultant reorganization of implicit memories sustained in the neural architecture facilitates a stable and integrated experience of self in relationship to others and to the environment, otherwise known as consciousness.

We suggest that there are many benefits to be gained by a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between heart, brain, memory, and the energetic heart. Learning to access our deeper innate wisdom can facilitate people in unfolding who they really are and approaching personal, social, and global affairs with increased wisdom, compassion, and positive innovation.

Practicing shifting to a more coherent state increases intuitive awareness and over time, the establishment of new baseline reference patterns and sustained shifts in perception and world-views from which better informed and more intelligent decisions can be discriminated. This process elevates consciousness, our awareness of self and connections with others, and our capacity for self-regulation and corresponding ability for self-directed action.

As consciousness is lifted, it is possible to move beyond habitual reactivity based on automatic responses stemming from reliance on patterns of behavior that are anchored in the realm of the familiar into the realm of more creative, fitting, and effective strategies. As the development of physiological coherence allows increased access to intuitive intelligence and as the individual's repertoire of positive emotions and actions grows, it is natural that the enhanced experience of empathy and social coherence will lead to compassionate empathy in the form of attitudes and behaviors that facilitate and support altruistic pro-social actions.

When more individuals in families, workplace, and communities increase and stabilize their coherence baselines, it can lead to increased social and global coherence and a corresponding lifting of consciousness. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Glob Adv Health Med.

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Published online Mar 1. Find articles by Rollin McCraty. Find articles by Maria Zayas. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Key Words: Intuition, heart, energetic sensitivity, self-regulation, pattern matching, emotion, consciousness.

IMPLICIT PROCESSES To gain a deeper understanding of the role of the heart in accessing intuitive intelligence and lifting consciousness, it is first prudent to discuss how memories of past events play a crucial role in setting the stage for implicit types of intuition and emotional perception as well as the important role the heart plays in all three types of intuition.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2. INTUITION AND EMPATHY Given that empathy represents an aspect of intuition in regard to energetic sensitivity and that it is implicated as an important factor in sustaining compassionate social action and positive relationships, it is pertinent to explore the nature of empathy in order to more fully understand the role it plays in making choices that uplift individual and global consciousness.

Figure 3. Nelson R, Scientific evidence for the existence of a true noosphere: foundation for a noo-constitution in forum of spiritual culture. Astana, Kazakhstan; Intuition: a fundamental bridging construct in the behavioural sciences.

Br J Psychol. Lieberman MD. Social cognitive neuroscience: a review of core processes in Annu Rev Psychol. Baumeister RF, et al. Self-regulation and personality: how interventions increase regulatory success, and how depletion moderates the effects of traits on behavior. J Pers. The coherent heart: heart-brain interactions, psychophysiological coherence, and the emergence of system-wide order. Integral Rev. Dane E, Pratt MG. Exploring intuition and its role in managerial decision making.

Acad Manage Rev. Bechara A, et al. The Iowa Gambling Task and the somatic marker hypothesis: some questions and answers. Trends Cogn Sci. Damasio AR. Descartes' error: emotion, reason and the human brain. New York: G. Putnam's Sons; [ Google Scholar ]. Bastick T. Intuition: how we think and act. New York: Wiley; [ Google Scholar ]. Moir A, Jessel D, Brainsex: the real difference between men and women. London: Mandarin Paperbacks; [ Google Scholar ]. LeDoux J. The emotional brain: the mysterious underpinnings of emotional life.

Damasio A. Looking for Spinoza: joy, sorrow, and the feeling brain. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt; [ Google Scholar ]. LeDoux JE. Emotional memory systems in the brain. Behav Brain Res. Evans JSBT. Dual-processing accounts of reasoning, judgment, and social cognition.

Annu Rev Psychol. Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? J Pers Soc Psychol. The feeling of what happens. Myers DG. Intuition: its powers and perils. Nonlocal intuition in entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs: results of two experiments using electrophysiological measures.

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business. Pribram KH. Languages of the brain: Experimental paradoxes and principals in neuropsychology. Larsen A, Bundesen C. A template-matching pandemonium recognizes unconstrained handwritten characters with high accuracy. Mem Cognit. Craig J, Lindsay N. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research. Time structures shronomes of the blood circulation, populations' health, human affairs and space weather. World Heart J. Geoelectric potential changes: possible precursors to earthquakes in Japan.

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Wiseman R, Schlitz M. Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. J Parapsychol. Bem DJ. Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Bradley RT. Psycholphysiology of intution: A quantum-holgraphic theory on nonlocal communication. World Futures: J Gen Evolution. Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis. Front Psychol. Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: part 1. The surprising role of the heart.

J Altern Complement Med. Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: Part 2. A system-wide process? Ratey JJ. A user's guide to the brain: perception, attention, and the four theaters of the brain. Mayer RE. The search for insight: grappling with gestalt psychology's unanswered questions. There was no broken glass. Our use of information is often biased in important regards.

First, we pay more attention to information that is easily available the availability heuristic. Second, we overweight memories which are more easily retrievable — usually because they are emotionally vivid or have personal relevance the retrievability heuristic. We pay selective attention to information, often in a self-serving way. We will often give greater weight to information which shows us in a favourable light self-serving bias , or information that supports an already established point of view the confirmation bias.

For example, in some research that colleagues and I carried out into the decision making of traders in investment banks, one trader told us:. I spend time talking to a lot of people; consultants, other traders on the desk, in the markets, finding out what people are doing. I am always absorbing information. This trader may have been suffering from the confirmation bias: unconsciously avoiding people who might offer views too different from his own. We are constantly bombarded by information.

Simply walking though a room risks flooding us with more sensory information that we can possibly process. Stop for a moment and consider all the different things you can see, hear, smell, or feel. Which of these senses do you usually tune out? From birth we start learning to filter information out and to prioritise, label and classify the phenomena we observe. This is a vital process. Without it we literally could not function in our day-to-day lives. In our work lives, if we did not filter information and discard options we would suffer from analysis paralysis: the inability to make any decision in the face of the complexity and the ambiguity of the real world.

However, this filtering comes at a cost and introduces some significant biases into the judgements we make. One, which you came across in Activity 1, is overconfidence: we tend to be unduly optimistic about estimates and judgements that we make and filter out of our awareness many of the sources of uncertainty.

Another problem we have already discussed is our tendency to be swayed by how a problem is framed. Many decisions need revisiting and updating as new information comes available. However, most of us make insufficient anchoring adjustment : this is the tendency to fail to update one's targets as the environment changes Rutledge, Once a manager has made an initial decision or judgement then this provides a mental anchor which acts as a source of resistance to reaching a significantly different conclusion as new information becomes available.

It is what happens when one has made a snap judgement and then disregards feedback that is inconsistent with this position. This bias can affect judgements about people as well as technical judgements. Making early judgements about someone, for example in a job interview, may put you in an anchored position, and later information may come too late to shift your opinion Anderson, For most normally functioning people, maintaining self-esteem is an important internal goal. This can cause us to filter out or discount information that might show us in an unfavourable light.

This is what lies behind the fundamental attribution bias. This is the tendency to attribute good outcomes to our own actions and bad outcomes to factors outside our control. While such defences against loss of self-esteem can be helpful to the extent that they help us persist in the face of adversity, they can reduce learning and reduce opportunities to take corrective action. Another important internal goal is to maintain a sense of control over events and our environment.

In consequence, a common way in which we distort our understanding of events is to assume we have greater control of events than we really do. When we suffer from this illusion of control , we are likely to underestimate the risks of our actions and decisions and have problems in learning from experience as we discount information that suggest we are not in control Fenton-O'Creevy et al , As we noted earlier, both the rational-economic and psychological perspectives on decision making tend to ignore the social context in which we live and work.

We turn now to consider this social context. What do we mean when we say reality is socially constructed? We inhabit a social world. To understand the nature of social influences on decision making we need to start from this idea that the environment within which we exist and the meanings which we attribute to that environment — even to a large extent the categories available to us to think about that environment — are socially constructed. When you enter a shop and buy a magazine the whole transaction relies on you and the seller having shared beliefs about the meaning of money and the nature of an exchange relationship.

When you enter into a contract you have a set of expectations about the meaning of mutual contractual obligations and penalties for non-compliance. Finding those expectations are not shared can cause significant problems, as many Western businesses have found in China where different expectations prevail. Sociologists refer to these more profound shared meanings as institutions. In this sense, an institution is a persistently reproduced social pattern that is relatively self-sustaining.

However, to say that institutions are self-sustaining is not to say they cannot change. In recent decades, to take one example, the shared understanding of the meaning and rules of the institution of marriage have changed considerably. These shared social meanings powerfully influence and constrain the way in which we reason and decide.

They provide categories within which we think. To return to the example of marriage, the socially shared categories of fidelity, housework, childcare, separation, divorce and so on provide a framework within which we think about such relationships. These shared social meanings are tacit, implicit, and taken for granted.

Social institutions powerfully affect how we perceive the world and exercise judgement. Box 2 gives an example. In an experiment conducted by Lynne Zucker participants were placed in a darkened room where a small light was shone. They were asked to judge how far the light moved while they were in the room the light was in fact stationary.

Typically, individual participants judged the light to move to some extent. The experienced participant was in fact one of the research team. The perception of light movement was passing through the generations.

Zucker then varied the experiment and carried out two further versions. Zucker found the strength of transmission of perceptions was greater when participants considered themselves part of the same organisation, and even greater when the formal role of light operator was bestowed. In other words, the more the participants were encouraged to see themselves as part of a defined social structure within which others had a legitimate role, the more their perceptions were influenced by those others.

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This experiment is just one example of the ways in which social institutions can powerfully affect how we perceive the world and exercise judgement. As we consider how decisions are made in organisations, we need to understand the role of social institutions both within the organisation and in its environment. There is an important link to the psychological perspective: much of our mental capacity has evolved to understand not the physical world we inhabit, but the social world.

As a social species, individual survival has depended crucially on our ability as individuals to understand and work within our social milieu. A significant proportion of our cognitive capacity is devoted to understanding and working within social rules. If we are to negotiate our social environments and to collaborate with others, our success depends on our understanding and mastery of social institutions; so too in the world of business. Economists have typically explained firm behaviour in terms of the search for economic advantage. Many sociologists while not denying the role of economic forces have looked to the importance to organisation survival of establishing legitimacy in terms of relevant social institutions.

Great Leaders are Great Decision-Makers

Social institutions affect which actions are seen as legitimate. Some of this can be quite unconscious; the conceptual frameworks and notions of cause and effect that are available to decision-makers to reason with are largely socially determined. This can operate at different levels — national, industry, firm, team, and so on. For example, at the industry level some researchers have looked at the way in which cognitive communities develop. These are networks of firms whose managers share cognitive schema : core ideas about how the industry works, cause-and-effect relationships, and what constitutes reasonable conduct.

These ideas simplify and constrain the ways in which managers within a group identify competitors and customers, and reason about competitive strategy. Box 3 describes some of this research. Porac et al. These shared assumptions were reinforced by the informal networks and ties that existed between managers. For example, competition on price was frowned upon and firms competed mainly on the basis of design, service and quality. There was also a high level of consensus that their products were aimed at the top income group although this seemed based on little actual market research.

While senior managers often like to think that they are driven by the rational pursuit of economic success, there is evidence that some of the drivers for their behaviour have more to do with social legitimacy: Box 4 illustrates this. Barry Staw and Lisa Epstein carried out a study of the adoption of popular management techniques, such as quality and team-based initiatives in top US firms. They found that adoption of such techniques was not associated with increased economic performance. They concluded that CEOs are motivated to adopt such practices not because they are economically optimal for the firm, but because they are seen as highly legitimate management practices, which reassure company stakeholders and offer signals about the CEO's competence to compensation decision makers.

Coercive pressures come from the social sanctions that can be applied if we do not act in socially legitimate ways. The law is one source of coercive pressure, but so too is the knowledge that you will get promoted only if you act in ways which fit accepted ways of doing things in your organisation.

Mimetic pressures come from the pressure to imitate what others do. The world is complicated and finding the optimal solution often difficult. One way of dealing with this complexity is to copy others. It is this mimetic pressure that lies behind the tendency to follow management fashions.

Of course, imitation can be a successful strategy, but it can often occur with little regard for the different contexts and challenges faced by different organisations. They concern our values and the broader social values to which we subscribe. Some organisations make explicit attempts to foster particular kinds of value for example, in relation to customer service , but normative pressures also come from outside the organisation, such as from a particular professional or religious affiliation.

Institutional pressures are important for both private and public-sector organisations. However, they have especial relevance in the public sector, as noted by Lozeau et al. Although all organizations are susceptible to institutional influences these pressures seem to take on greater importance in certain organizational fields, such as in domains where professional associations play a major role e. In the public sector where there may be limited capability to assess simple bottom-line outcomes such as profitability, it becomes tempting for those who evaluate these organizations governments, regulatory bodies, the public to judge them on the basis of their processes.

In such circumstances, the adoption of techniques that are viewed as rational, modern and progressive can enhance an organization's legitimacy. An important aspect of institutional theory is the emphasis given to the different demands of the different contexts faced by decision makers. First, not all institutional pressures push in the same direction. For example, in a hospital setting there may be conflict between normative pressures arising out of the role of professional medical groups such as consultants and nurses, and coercive pressures from government bodies e.

Secondly, there can be a conflict between institutional pressures and economic pressures arising out of the competitive environment. Organisations often deal with these social pressures by decoupling responses to these different pressures. The need to appear legitimate in the eyes of important constituencies is met by actions and practices which have a purely ceremonial character: they are done for the sake of appearances and not with any real engagement. The example in Box 5 shows how the Taiwanese subsidiary of a Western multinational uses decoupling to resolve the tension between parent-company coercive pressures to adopt a particular approach to performance management, and the mimetic and normative pressures resulting from the cultural setting in which the subsidiary operates.

While running an executive education programme for a large multinational, I touched on approaches to appraisal and performance management. I knew the firm had just rolled out a performance management system worldwide. The system embodied a USA-style, individually focused approach, with rewards and career advancement tied to outcomes of annual appraisals which were conducted according to a predefined template of competencies and performance criteria.

I also knew that such systems had a poor record in cultures with a strong Chinese influence, where there is considerable emphasis on the role of relational ties and strength of personal networks in determining career advancement. I asked how this new system had been received in Taiwan. At first, in class, the answer was that it was working fine. However, after lunch two Taiwanese managers approached me and asked if I would like to know the real story. Then a couple of us go into another room and write the appraisals to ensure we get those outcomes.

So in this section we have seen that our decision-making behaviour is affected by more than just our own individual psychological make-up. Our decisions are significantly affected by the social milieu in which we live and work. We are all driven to varying extents by the need for social legitimacy and the demands of groups of which we are members. Paying attention to these social contexts and pressures can enrich our understanding of how decisions are really taken and alert us to some of the invisible strings which tug at us.

An important aspect of decision making which crosses all three perspectives is making decisions about risks. Risk is all-pervasive in organisational life and many decisions require us to weigh up and choose between different kinds of risk. Thus any account of decision making would be incomplete without examining how our perceptions of risk affect our decisions.

In this section we will examine risk from the three different perspectives we have identified: rational-economic, psychological and social. A rational-economic perspective generally represents risk as a combination of the expected magnitude of a gain or loss, combined with some probability distribution of anticipated outcomes. Economic ideas of risk behaviour are founded largely on expected utility theory.


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Expected utility theory predicts that investors will always be risk averse. The shape of the utility curve utility plotted against increasing wealth is such that utility increases with wealth, but at a declining rate. This is used to explain why investors can be assumed to be risk averse. Across a market, individual risk preferences aggregate to create a market price for risk. Other simplifying assumptions, such as the idea of efficient markets, which instantaneously bring about market prices based on all available information, provide a basis for the construction of mathematically sophisticated approaches to understanding financial risks.

If you have studied financial strategy, you will know that there are a range of financial tools and technologies for managing financial risks, including portfolio management, options and the use of risk-adjusted discount factors and sensitivity analysis in discounted cash-flow calculations. The range and sophistication of such tools is increasing rapidly and there is no doubt that they have value. However, these tools are used by people with all their biases and cognitive limitations and assume a model of human behaviour rational-economic which is a significant oversimplification of how people really behave.

For a brief review of decision science approaches to accounting for financial risk in decision making see Vlahos Within the psychological paradigm there is a different starting point for understanding risk. In financial economic accounts, risk is generally regarded as a combination of the expected magnitude of loss or gain and the variability of that expected outcome.

Human perception of risk works rather differently. There are two other important components of risk that influence our perceptions: the fear factor — how much we dread the potential outcome — and the control factor — the extent to which we are in control of events. When risks combine both dread and lack of control, for example in a nuclear accident, they are perceived as very great. It is, for instance, common to fear an accident more as a car passenger than as a driver, even when we acknowledge the other driver to be the more competent. While expected utility theory suggests people to be consistently risk averse, available evidence on human risk preferences suggests that we are risk averse when considering potential gains, but will often take significant risks to avoid losses.

Further, whether we see ourselves as operating in the domain of gains or losses depends crucially on how a decision is framed and the reference point we are using to judge losses and gains.