When Emotions Hijack Your Rational Response

Have you ever experienced a moment when you see something or hear something that rubs you the wrong way? And before you can appropriately respond to it, your emotions take over? Then just like that, it’s over; the moment is gone. All that’s left is the mental — and potentially social — cleanup. You might need to process shocked responses from those who witnessed the event. Then there’s your own surprised reaction to get through, along with some regret and without a doubt, the dumbfounded question, “What in the world was I thinking?” Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux suggests that we process things emotionally first, long before they ever reach our rational mind. His work ultimately informed well-known author and psychologist Daniel Goleman who would later call these overwhelming experiences “amygdala hijacking.”…


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