Reacting or Responding

Balancing the Primary Human Drives.

Dual Process Theories Definition

‘Dual process theories are a group of theories in social, personality, and cognitive psychology that describe how people think about information when they make judgments or solve problems. These theories are called dual process because they distinguish two basic ways of thinking about information: a relatively fast, superficial, spontaneous mode based on intuitive associations, and a more in-depth, effortful, step-by-step mode based on systematic reasoning. Dual process theories have been applied in many areas of psychology, including persuasion, stereotyping, person perception, memory, and negotiation. In general, these theories assume that people will think about information in a relatively superficial and spontaneous way unless they are both able and motivated to think more carefully.’

The above reference captures the concerns a lot of us encounter in our daily lives. If we have a feeling or a thought that we are not safe we will react from our Primary drive of fight and flight. This drive makes us combative, cautious and non-trusting of anyone we don’t know, which can lead us to fearing any social environment. Add to this an inner sense (false belief) that we are going to make a fool of ourselves in public; then we decide to stay at home, shop in the quieter times, order things on-line rather than venturing out and engage directly with others. The more we do this the more we fail to practice our social skills and it reduces our confidence the next time we need to go out.

If we have overwhelming negative thoughts about others or ourselves, overwhelming negative feelings and past negative experiences, then these can all lead to us isolating ourselves. Too many ideas/emotions flood the brain causing a confusion that struggles to make sense of the ideas/emotions and proportion them according to their importance or relevance. This causes us to be reactive rather than consolidatory.

Understanding where these feelings and thoughts come from can assist us to challenge them, be more reflective and responsive to our environment and those within it.

  1. Don’t react.
  2. Identify the thoughts, feelings and actions associated with the incident or circumstance.
  3. Reflect on these drives and re-evaluate their origins and need (why are they present?).
  4. Think through a number of responses and evaluate.
  5. Refer to someone for a second opinion if unsure.

At Umbrella Connections we believe most people are good, most of the time and do want to get along with others. If we start from this basic belief and use systematic reasoning we can find ourselves being positive and engaging rather than reserved and defensive.