The Decision Making Composite scale addresses the ways in which one uses emotional information. This facet of emotional intelligence includes Problem Solving, Reality Testing, and Impulse Control. Collectively, this composite scale reveals how well one understands the impact emotions have on decision making, including the ability to resist or delay impulses and remain objective in order to avoid rash behaviours and ineffective attempts at problem solving.
Problem Solving is the ability to find solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved. Problem solving includes the capacity to understand how emotions impact decision making. Problem solving is a complex and even multiphasic process. It is not about neutralising emotion, but about using emotional information to enhance the process of recognising a problem, feeling confident in one’s ability to work through it, defining the problem, generating a solution, and implementing the plan. The appropriate application of emotional information can help identify potential pitfalls, inspire the recruitment of help, and even expedite the solution by evoking feelings of confidence. Problem solving is about understanding the impact that emotions have on the decision making process and using those emotions most effectively.
Reality Testing is the capacity to remain objective by seeing things as they really are. This involves recognising when emotions or personal bias can cause one to be less objective. Reality testing involves the active search for objective information to confirm, support, justify, and validate feelings, perceptions and thoughts. Strong reality testing skills allow one to keep things in the proper perspective and experience things as they really are, without fantasising, daydreaming, or attaching wants, desires, and ideals to a context. An important aspect of reality testing involves the ability to concentrate and remain focused when presented with emotionally evocative situations. In essence, reality testing is all about perception, clarity, and objectivity.
Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive, or temptation to act. It involves avoiding rash behaviours and impetuous decision making. Impulse control entails a capacity for recognising and accepting one’s desire to react without becoming a servant to that desire. Difficulties in impulse control are manifested by low emotional threshold, impulsiveness, loss of self-control, and unpredictable behaviour.