When it comes to romance and relationships, we’ve all heard about making decisions with your head versus your heart. The battle between logic and emotion. But is it really one or the other?
Head Versus Heart?
Now, when we say head versus heart, it’s clearly not in the literal sense, but rather all about emotion versus logic. Some people believe they are heart people, reacting more emotionally in situations, whereas others may believe they are head people, always choosing logic. But truthfully, it’s not so cut and dry, especially with romance.
You may have heard in the past that women are more emotional than men. That they tend to use the right, more emotional side of their brain, and men use the left, more logical side. But what research has come to reveal is that women utilize both sides of the brain. They are not more emotional, rather they may pick up more on emotional cues, which allows them to be more sensitive. Their left and right hemispheres allow them to combine logic and emotion in a given situation because they have connections between each other.
Men actually use both sides of their brain as well but might engage one (the more logical) side more than the other. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that men have connections within the left and right hemispheres. This means that men’s connections aren’t as dynamic, lacking the ability to think equally amongst both sides, and tending to use one side more prominently than the other.
Yixin Hu and others at East China Normal University conducted a study in which they designed real-life situations for students to experience while manipulating aspects such as emotional state and time constraints. What they found was that individuals who were crunched for time when presented with a decision often made the more “risky” irrational decision when they were in a happier mood. So, in an instance where your partner asks you to drop everything and move with them across the country tomorrow, after eating at a five-star restaurant, you’re probably going to say yes, thinking more with your heart than your head.
What they also found was that individuals in a negative emotional state and under a time crunch weren’t as likely to go for the risky decision, thinking more with their heads than their hearts. The interesting thing was that for those individuals who weren’t in a time crunch, their emotional state didn’t have nearly as strong an effect on their overall decision.
It seems your head versus your heart becomes more of a battle when you’re in a time crunch. It’s about fast versus slow thinking. Slow thinking allows individuals to make more informed decisions that don’t act on present emotion, but rather work through emotions and logic. Fast thinking doesn’t allow for those connections between or within the left and right hemispheres of logic and emotion, often resulting in a more impulsive decision stemming from the current emotional state instead of working through emotions.
Head and Heart
So, there is your head versus your heart. In reality, it’s not so cut and dry.
Many factors can play into the risky versus safe decisions you make in a relationship. Time is the enemy, but now we know that everyone listens to their heads and their hearts. Relationships are about balance. Listening to your heart brings passion and sometimes impulsivity, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Thinking with your head can provide great logic, but can also instill doubt and hold you back from experiencing something truly remarkable.
Being able to incorporate both desire and logic when making decisions seems to be the key to a healthy relationship, in which people of all genders are equally capable. The key is having the emotional intelligence to acknowledge both you and your partner’s emotions and having the capacity to understand and manage them.
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