Sounds silly right? It’s not. While we all think we are operating independently and making our own decisions, too often there are other factors inconspicuously affecting our decisions. A perfect example is a study done at Yale regarding how the environment affects the decisions we make.
The study done at Yale asked participants to hold a cup of coffee for about 5-10 minutes while the researcher recorded basic information (name, address, etc). The variable was a cup of coffee. Some participants were given a hot cup of coffee to hold, others were given iced coffee. Afterwards, the participants were asked to read a paragraph and identify the character traits of the person in the story. While everyone read the same paragraph, there was something very different about the responses people gave. Interestingly, the people who held the warm cup of coffee identified the character in the paragraph as warm and caring, while those who held the iced coffee thought the character was distant and stand-offish.
Same paragraph, yet different interpretation! Why? The only variable was the cup of coffee. So if you want to create a warm and friendly start to your day, you may want to tell your barista to make it hot. Using this knowledge, can you imagine what else in the environment is affecting you and the decisions you make?