Emotion as a limit to Reason Rhea sachdeva

Rhea Sachdeva

Group members: Melanie Dotson, Laith Akras, Aditya Deshpande

Date: February 16th-27th

"WOK Badge: Reason”


The main point of reasoning I like is “How reliable is inductive reasoning?”. We did a similar idea with sense perception and that went really smoothly, so focusing on a similar topic would work well. Perhaps we could exploit the fact that reasoning isn’t as reliable as most people think. Especially since most people think reason and logic are completely reliable and something that is more favorable to follow. The points I would like to make is that: Inductive reasoning is rather general; Inductive reasoning is just furthering knowledge we already know; and that inductive reasoning isn’t as reliable. I am open to other ideas too but I’m uncertain on the experiments we could use to support the question. I’m really curious as to how the projects are going to go and I am excited to start the badge project.

Today initiated the first step of our research for our project. At first we had no idea what we would do, but we decided to work with the idea of “Are humans instinctually rational or irrational?”. While we researched more on humans and rationality, we didn’t quite know what to truly do with it. We ended up deciding to focus on the aspect of humans being instinctively rational, but our group doesn’t have a concrete idea on what our project will look like quite yet. Each of us is going to brainstorm ideas and come back to think of a final project.


Currently we haven’t thought up a concrete plan for our project yet. We have already brainstormed ideas, but we haven’t thought of an actual process quite yet. We want to prove the point that humans are instinctively rational, but we haven’t thought of an experiment we could do to explain this. We plan to use the essential question of “Are humans instinctually rational or irrational?” and have an answer to why. However we don’t know what to make for our badge project yet so I hope to figure out a plan by the end of this class.

We decided to change up our research question but we finally had a concrete plan on what to do. We decided to do our question on “What are the limitations of logic?” and focused on emotion as a limitation. We planned to have four different people with four different emotions take on a logical syllogism test. We plan to show them either sad, happy, or scary videos beforehand and will test them with a syllogism test. The answers correct might vary depending on the emotion. We predict that emotion is a limit to reason and in this scenario, people who are shown emotional videos will have a more hindered experience in trying to answer the questions. Therefore they will also have a lower overall score of correct answers on the test. I learned so much about how emotion is integrated with reason today, and the reason behind wanting to do this project is because of all the research each member has done on reason and emotion.


Overall our project went really well! I was surprised at how successful our experiment went. The people who were more strongly affected by the emotions had a lot less right compared to the control group. I learned that emotions are a lot faster than reason and it often shows in examples such as these. If we had to improve on anything it would be to have videod the person’s reaction so the class could observe for themselves how affected everyone was by the video. Overall though, the project went better than expected and I didn’t expect the hypothesis to get proven right completely.

For my elective reading I read “Evaluate the Strength and Weaknesses of Reason as a Way of Knowing”. It was a great addition after doing my project to help strengthen my understanding of the weaknesses. While this specific article doesn’t touch much on emotion, it focuses on how convoluted reason is. It also states that many of the things that could give reason its advantages, could also be a disadvantage. Along with emotion, it was a great article that strengthened my understanding.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050437/ I would like to include this as an extension proposal. This text focuses on specific experiments on how emotion limits reasoning and was a help to understand my actual project. It helped to understand the connection between reason and emotion - something I wouldn’t have realized is so interconnected. I also enjoyed how it uses data from specific investigations. The data-oriented examples were highly detailed and I loved how the examples were stated.

How do emotions limit reasoning?

How quick is reasoning processed?

Is reason faulty?

Zoe Grout's results.
Patrick Smith's results.
Shivani Bathija's results.
Shivani Bathija's results.
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Rhea Sachdeva

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