The now vast field of behavioral finance can outline and articulate the mistakes we make in our choices. We look at questions that are in effect the same depending on how the question is worded, we evaluate the gain or loss of the same amount of money in a lopsided way, we can be primed to give one answer or another with every thing imaginable under the sun – including a simply hot or cold cup of coffee.

The typical answer is to think harder… to use our intellect to work harder at seeing and then behaving in a more theoretically and objectively rational way. But does it work? Furthermore, does the dilemma even fully describe the whole “problem”.

The solution to creating behaviors that we want is to put the right context back into our consciousness. Virtually every single one of the list of behavioral mistakes can be explained if one looks to see what emotional context was induced by what came just before. It really is that simple – what is the context of emotions the subject is experiencing? What context was induced either by the wording or the previous event or the manipulation of the subject’s feelings through experimentation with pictures or conversations or….

For a long time now, we have only looked at two dimensions of the psyche – thinking and behaving. We subjugated emotions to some deep dark and useless place. Ironically, they explain just about everything – if we will only elevate them to the same level of analysis as our thoughts, models, math and behavior…