The Human Experience

ALL sources must be within the past 5 years.
The human experience is composed of an endless series of decisions. Humans make
thousands of conscious and unconscious decision every day. This assignment will allow you
to research some of the factors that influence decision making.
Discuss the effects of categorization and social influences on decision making. Include the

  1. A summary of the cognitive processes used to understand ourselves and others.
  2. A discussion of how categorization specifically influences individual decision making.
  3. A discussion of how social influences specifically affect individual decision making.

The Human Experience

Categorization is a fundamental property of human mind that has the ability to influence
the decisions made by an individual. According to Shah (2009), categorization refers to a mental
operation that helps the brain of an individual to classify different things such as objects and
The effects of categorization and social influences on decision-making include the
following. Firstly, categorization and social influences help an individual to structure a wide
range of information. This means that it is possible for an individual to access and utilize specific
information without having to go through all the content provided. Secondly, people find it easy
to make forecasts and decisions. This is evident in instances where some people are tempted to
transfer their conclusions from a given experience to different objects that fall within the same
category. However, it is worthy to mention that categorization and social influences can be
strategic. This occurs in situations where individuals are forced to infer about the methods used
by other people to categorize objects (Stangor, 2013).
Specific influence of categorization on individual decision-making may occur through
different ways. This happens when people employ a given categorization label to identify their
decisions in a strong form. If this occurs, it is very likely that the decisions made by a person will
depend on his or her categorization. On the other hand, if an individual uses a weaker form, the


decision taken will be made probabilistically (Konig, Finkelman & Bracey, 2010).
Categorization may also have a specific influence on individual decision-making depending on
the situation in which it is applied. For example, if categorization is applied on a social or
perceptual situation, then it is very likely that the decisions that an individual hopes to make will
not be changed (Raab, Johnson & Heekeren, 2009).
Many reasons also explain how social influences specifically affect individual decision-
making. To start with, social influences are very significant in everyday life of an individual to
an extent that they can even overwhelm other economic motives during the decision making
process. However, it should be understood that an individual’s critical thinking regarding his or
her decisions depends on the complexity or simplicity of the decision that should be made.
Secondly, social influences can affect individual decision making especially in situations where
one finds it extremely difficult to identify the best decision that should be made. When the level
of knowledge or skills of an individual are very low, the goodness of the decision made will
depend on whether that person is capable of making a justifiable alternative. In such instances,
individuals should not be surprised that their self-presentation concerns may act as strong
cognitive motivators when decisions are being made. In addition, all decisions made under social
influences are observable and often makes the decision maker to feel accountable for what he or
she has done (Castellan, 2013).
With regard to cognitive processes, there are eight cognitive processes used by
individuals to understand others. These processes are very vital for human behavior because they
focus mainly on the manner in which individuals use their knowledge. Cognitive processes are
categorized into two main groups. The processes in the first group focus on how people gather
information, while the second group establishes how people organize their experiences as they


make decisions. The cognitive processes found in the first group are Extraverted Sensing,
Introverted Sensing, Extraverted Intuiting, and Introverted Intuiting. Each cognitive process has
a unique function that people use to understand themselves and others. For example, extraverted
Sensing helps people to trust their instinct as they engage in actions that conform to the current
context. Introverted Sensing helps people to stabilize different situations by comparing them
with the expected or desirable outcomes (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
Cognitive processes that fall in the second group are Extraverted Thinking, Introverted
Thinking, Extraverted Feeling, and Introverted Feeling. Just as the cognitive processes
categorized in the first group, these processes also have a unique and vital role. For example,
Extraverted Thinking helps individuals to create structures and reason by evidence and measures
as they struggle to implement different plans. Extraverted Feeling helps people to connect to
their friends by sharing values and ideas. Through Introverted Feeling, people find it easier to
evaluate different situations to enable them choose what they believe is congruent to their
personal identity. It is important to understand that any given cognitive process can be used in a
basic and an unsophisticated way to reflect one’s natural capabilities (Schultz & Schultz, 2012).
Conclusively, it is evident that categorization is very helpful to individuals during the
decision making process. Combining categorization with social influences yields more benefits
to people involved in making decisions. Apart from the social influences, the different cognitive
processes also play a vital role in decision-making. Each cognitive process has a unique
contribution not only to individual involved in decision making, but also in situations where the
decisions made by a person affect other people in one way or another.



Castellan, N.J. (2013). Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues. Hillsdale, New
Jersey: Psychology Press.
Konig, D. T., Finkelman, P., & Bracey, C. A. (2010). The Dred Scott case: Historical and
contemporary perspectives on race and law. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.
Raab, M., Johnson, J. G., & Heekeren, H. R. (2009). Mind and motion: The bidirectional link
between thought and action. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2012). A history of modern psychology. Australia:
Shah, J. (2009). Supply chain management: Text and cases. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson
Stangor, C. (2013). Social Groups in Action and Interaction. New York: Psychology Press.