When was the last time you made a decision? Did you know that psychologists believe we make thousands of decisions in a single day? Some of them have a lasting impact on our lives—like marriage and major purchases—while others are trivial. Some of the choices we make turn out well, while others end up being less than ideal.
Everyone makes bad decisions. No one is immune. But sometimes a person makes a bad choice due to a cognitive issue, which is why it’s important to understand the psychology behind bad decisions.
Good vs. Bad
Think back to the last time you made a choice that didn’t work out. Maybe you made a purchase that cascaded into a long-term financial hardship. Perhaps you made a poor choice that didn’t seem like anything less than the best at the time. Inevitably, you wonder why you made those decisions.
The choices we make are influenced by numerous factors. For example, when making a decision our ability to:
- Foresee consequences
- Consider the short and long-term results of our direct and indirect choices
- And learn from past poor decisions…
…all impact whether we make smart, not so smart, or unsmart choices.
According to a study by economist Sendhil Mullainathan, there is an additional element that strongly influences the decisions people make. According to the study, poverty impedes cognitive function. A lack of—whether it be money, food, or something else—can hurt a person’s ability to make good choices. The Atlantic reports that “poverty [imposes] a mental burden similar to losing 13 IQ points.”
When Poor Decisions (Don’t) Matter
The resounding attitude, particularly in testimony from The Atlantic, indicates that many make poor decisions because “none of them matter in the long term.” However, this general outlook does not discount those living above the poverty level. One of the most classic cognitive disorders, kleptomania, often strikes those who have an abundance versus a lack.
Do poor decisions matter? The answer is yes, and they matter in ways you might not initially realize.
Cognitive functions, such as those used by the brain to make decisions, are often a force of habit. You might liken the pattern of making poor choices to developing a drug or alcohol habit—the more often you indulge, the more set and pronounced the pattern grows.
Some poor decisions have limited outcomes. For example, choosing to have cheese when you are lactose intolerant is a poor choice, but the outcome is temporary. In contrast, choosing to cause a public disturbance or trespass are poor decisions that could land you in legal hot water.
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention
What if a poor choice, or a series of less than ideal decisions, leads to legal issues? In this case, an intervention may be the best response.
CBI, or Cognitive Behavioral Intervention, is a special program aimed specifically at this scenario. The program’s goal is to change offender behavior. The long-term reach includes reducing delinquent and criminal conduct.
Harmful cognitive behaviors can develop as early as childhood. If treated as little more than willful criminal behavior, the root cause is never addressed and a change in decision-making is rarely, if ever, seen.
CBIs come in all shapes and sizes. Some focus on addressing cognition to reduce tendency, while others emphasize behavioral interventions. In the past, program focused on one over the other, never both. But this has changed.
Programs like our CBI Classes seek to alter thoughts, the process by which a person thinks, and the subsequent actions they take. It is ideal for first time offenders who are facing criminal charges ranging from trespassing to theft because it addresses the root issue behind their decision-making process while providing a means of forgiving their legal woes.
Dismissal of Charges through CBI Classes
The State of North Carolina regulates programs that are approved to dismiss charges based on the completion of specific requirements. What does this mean for you? If the court offers the opportunity to take CBI classes, you have the chance to:
- Complete the CBI course in its entirely to meet the court requirements for dismissal of charges for crimes.
- Improve social skills.
- Discover ways to cope with and stand against negative peer pressure.
- Change your problem solving and decision-making process for the better.
- Find ways to make good decisions while recognizing and avoiding poor ones.
Beating the Psychology behind Bad Decisions
Research studies continue to show that our ability to make good and bad decisions changes as we evolve. Our core beliefs, environment, and the people we come in contact with all influence our decision-making process. These elements do not have to put us at a disadvantage.
Everyone makes bad decisions. It is part of life, but when bad decisions begin to rule our life and put us in trouble with the law, there may be more at play than merely making a bad choice. Sometimes a person’s moral compass or value system is lacking, and this contributes to negative—even illegal—choices. While cognitive behavioral intervention is not an instant cure for delinquent behaviors, it can shed needed light on why a person continually commits illegal acts or makes bad decisions.
CBI and Self-Discovery
CBI classes are very much a journey of self-discovery. If a judge or probation officer has told you that you qualify for the CBI program, register for classes today. Our team can walk you through the process, and as a State-approved provider, completion of our program and meeting any other court mandated requirements for dismissal of your charges is a guarantee of a smart investment.
Worried about how much time CBI classes will take? Don’t! The state mandates a minimum of 12 hours to qualify for misdemeanor dismissal, and we offer the complete CBI course in just two days.
Cognitive behavioral intervention can open the door to a better you. It can serve as a means of correcting a judgement error and clearing your record, and if you let it, it can also aid you in turning over a new leaf and starting a better life. Isn’t that worth just two days of your time?