The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

For People Who Don’t Believe Emotion Influences Decisions …
August 3, 2010, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

… get them to move home.

I still find it unbelievable that there’s people out there who don’t believe emotion influences decisions, but there are because I met one last week.

To be honest, his attitude shocked me so much, I can’t bring myself to write about it – such was the level of brain violation he subjected me too.

Instead I’m going to write about the power of ‘home’.

So last Sunday we moved into our new apartment in Shanghai.

While I thought I was going to end up in a house – with stairs – we’ve ended up in an apartment, an apartment that is much smaller than many of the others we saw.

Because we move quite a lot – be it a house we buy or a house we rent – we tend to have a bunch of ‘requirements’ for any place we intend to call home, be it some we want …

Open plan
Cat friendly
Plenty of storage
Wooden floors throughout
In a location that has a more community feel etc etc

… and some we don’t …

Expat compound
Too far from work
In a massive skyscraper

… and yet, while the full list is fairly long, there are no outrageous requirements which is why real estate agents never find it hard to find us a bunch of places that, on paper, meet all our criteria.

But here’s the thing, despite a bunch of places all having the tangible elements we seek, we often end up having to see 30-40 places before we find one that ‘feels’ right.

It’s hard to define what ‘feels right’ really means, but it’s something that definitely exists … and contrary to what many real estate agents claim, it doesn’t change when you smell fresh bread and/or coffee when you walk into the place.

Take Shanghai …

Before we moved here, we heard of a place that sounded awesome.

A 3 story, fully refurbished, 3 bathroom, 3 bedroom house that was 10 mins walk to work and yet in a quiet, treelined street … and yet when we got there, despite it having all the facilities we could ever dream of, it just didn’t work for us.

And then there’s the place we now call home.

It’s a 2 bedroom / 1 study, single story apartment that’s a fraction of the size of many of the places we saw and has less storage than a snail could feasibly offer … and whilst it’s also 10 mins from work and set in a garden [which sounds way more poncy than it is], it’s got a very different feel to the treelined street we so loved the idea of.

But despite all that, as soon as we walked in … the moment we stepped through the door … we knew it was the one, which is why even though we won’t have our furniture for at least another 6-7 weeks, we are very happy and feel settled already.

So whilst I’m not denying things like location and appearance play an important part in how you feel about somewhere, the reality is the ultimate decision is driven by emotions – some you can quantify, some you can’t – so next time a brand manager/planner says rational/functional decisions are the only decisions that matter, ask them how they found their home and unless they say “through a careful analysis of function and features, filtered by cost & anticipated interest rates”, tell them they’re full of shit, that their ‘partner’ is probably bored shitless and having an affair and move on.

38 Comments so far
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if my pile of random pieces of woodworm fucked wood ever manages to come together and resemble anything like a fucking house then ill let you know whether i think this post is a pile of planner wank or not. presently its the worlds most annoying and expensive jigsaw where i pay a shitload of for some inept “builders” to drink tea, move a few things around and then come up to me and tell me the schedule and budget are fucked because theyve discovered something they hadnt planned for. like having to actually do some fucking work.

never never never afuckingain and dont think i dont blame you for this shit campbell. if you hadnt decided to go fucking 40th birthday mental on our asses wed be all living the fucking dream. it wasnt a great dream but it was a fuckload better than this shit.

your last paragraph saves me from flying over and beating the shit out of your happy life. and snogging a few million chinese hotties who love the english accent more than the american chicks who think it means were prince fucking williams cousin. well they think that when i tell them im prince fucking williams cousin.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is one of the funniest comments I’ve ever read of yours Andy, but I’m not laughing at you, I’m 100% with you.

Comment by Pete

thats a very fucking good job pete unless you have an unnatural love of hospital food and eating with no fucking teeth.

Comment by andy@cynic

the reason you get to live with peace and fucking quiet is because realtors far and fucking wide always get requests to “live no where fucking near rob campbell” but as youre a fucking property tycoon its getting fucking harder and harder which is why someone should offer me a fucking fortune to buy my wifes fucking stupid fucking holiday home dream because it might be a pile of random pieces of wood but its a pile of random pieces of wood fucking miles away from you.

im open to offers.

Comment by andy@cynic


But $5 US.

Comment by Billy Whizz

thats about 2 million canadian bucks. nice offer billy boy but because the wife saw this as her fucking mills & boon fantasy pad (fantasy being the operative fucking word) she paid bank bailout type us green for this pile of shite so its a no and i have to accept this is what love is, which is pretty much like divorce because it involves a house you pay for but never get to fucking live in.

Comment by andy@cynic

Spoken like a truly bitter divorcee …

Comment by Rob

Nice to hear you’ve moved in to your new home, it makes such a difference to how quickly you can feel settled in a new country.

I know when I lived in Singapore we went to see lots of places till we found the right one even though we had visited many that all had the tangible criteria we were seeking.

Nice example of the power of emotions in decision making and I’m with Andy about your last paragraph, it rocks.

Comment by Pete

stop planner flirting pete, makes my stomach churn.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thank you Pete … at least someone around here gets what I’m trying to say. [Could you let me know what it is I’m trying to say. ha!]

Comment by Rob

I can’t afford to buy a shoebox in the middle of nowhere. This post isn’t making me feel very happy for any of you. Spoilt, rich pricks.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Andy not included in that statement.

Comment by Billy Whizz

too fucking right im not, with this shithole im becoming a spoilt poor prick. another thing i can blame campbell for after blackmailing me into being bill gates fucking junior. wanker.

Comment by andy@cynic

Careful Andy – you’re blamestorming again and you know what you-know-who said about that!

Comment by Rob

you think i give a fuck what they say?

youre right, i give a fuck what they say. you win this time campbell but if it wasnt for that pesky rolling pin, id of got away with it.

why the fuck have i become a bad guy in scooby fucking doo and why the fuck did they bring scrappy into it and ruin the fucking brilliance of it all? another fucked up corporate decision there to try and win over the kids without realising what the fuck it was the kids liked in the first fucking place.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by lauren

Compact and bijou etc.

Comment by Chris

Was that ‘The Alliance & Leicester’ ad?

Comment by Rob

I believe so.

Comment by Chris

Old aren’t we!

Comment by Rob

I’ve only just begun.

Comment by Chris

hey rob, i think the reverse situation is also true – remove any ability/right/means to make decisions for themselves and you get a whole range of emotions (usually kinda unpleasant ones). if emotions didn’t influence the decision-making process and you took away people’s ability to do so, it wouldn’t effect their emotional state.

Comment by lauren

Errrrm, I think I’m thick but I am not sure I actually understand what you’re saying. I think I might understand but could you say it again. Slowly.


Comment by Rob

i tried to write it in a mathematical equation but got myself muddled. and now i’m not even sure i’m right. but here it goes again.

(whereby choice = ability or right to make a decision.)

if you force a decisive outcome on someone by taking away their choice, they will feel something.

if an outcome does not equal the combination of choice and emotion and you take away choice, they will not feel something.

therefore, a decisive outcome must be made up of emotion and choice.

did that work?

Comment by lauren

where c= choice, o=outcome, e=emotion



i think.

Comment by lauren

and rob, THAT is why i’m single.


Comment by lauren

Fucking hell, I’m about as scared [and confused] as can be.

You did it as a mathematical equation. Correction, you attempted to do it as a mathematical equation, which is just as bad.

Forget about being single, you shouldn’t be allowed out in public … but I hear Landor found this very interesting and would welcome an opportunity to talk to you and see if this proprietry tool could be adapted for developing overpriced, meaningless logos over a 267 week period.

God Lauren, I don’t know what to say … mainly because I still am as confused as all hell to what you were trying to say. Thank god I love you for the swearing or this might be the end of Andy and Billy’s dreams.

Comment by Rob

let’s just say that emotion influences decision-making and call it even. ok?

Comment by lauren

No let’s not. We tend to make emotional decisions and then use rational arguments to justify them – and we mostly don’t know we’re doing it.
Even worse, we predict what will make us happy based on post rationalised memories of our past. That’s why we’re doomed to repeat our mistakes, we never accurately remember how or why we went wrong in the first place.
Incidentally, divorcees or split ups in general quickly forget they were ever happy in their marriage to make the split emotionally easier – and it’s much easier to turn your ex-wife into a whore-bag than admit you might be to blame in any way.
Every girl that left me was quite nice and totally justified however, but that’s another story

Comment by northern

The brain is a complex beast designed to stop us from hurting ourselves as opposed to advancing our lives through increased knowledge and experience … which is why it ‘shapes’ our memories to help us feel/look/think we’re pretty good, even if the reality was somewhat different.

In short, the brain lies and rationality is there to help us feel better about that view. Not always, but a damn sight more than is given credit for.

Comment by Rob

Let’s just say that the orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for integrating visceral emotions into the decision making process.

Comment by Brainiac

I do have to warn against the advice proposed in your last sentence.

Young hoppers, don’t…

Rob is the Kenny “motherfucking” Powers of adland. You are not.

More flies with honey and all that..

Comment by niko

Rob, get that wanker to read Descartes Error or How We Decide. Both books explain with scientific proof that we can’t make any decisions without emotions. People who have had the emotion center of their brain damaged or removed cannot make a simple appointment because they keep weighing the pros and cons of Tuesday vs Wednesday. Our emotions are like high-speed computers that analyze all the things we know but can’t articulate and deliver a feeling back as the answer. It’s really interesting.

Comment by Heather

I loved how some of our marketing books at uni talked about purchasing as if people stand in Tesco and create a price vs quality graph which they use to make their decision…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Heather’s comment is spot on. Read either Lehrer or Damasio. EVERY decision is an emotional one.

Comment by Will

just talk to a 5 year old who isnt allowed a fucking chocolate and thats all the proof you need that emotions ruin all our days.

Comment by andy@cynic

IS that what you do with your spare time now Andy?

Comment by northern

basically yes except the 5 year old is a fucking builder and the chocolate is a tea break.

Comment by andy@cynic

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