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Making Independent Decisions Together: Rational Emotions in Legal Adjudication

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


["Symbolic Interaction, EarlyView. ", "\nThis article analyzes rational decision‐making in court as an emotive‐cognitive process formed in and through social interaction. Current theoretical perspectives have shown how emotion and thought are intertwined in the workings of the human brain but have seldom elaborated on the contextual and structural features of rational‐emotional decision‐making. I propose a model that maps emotional processes and emotional management demands to the temporally extended, stepwise process of rational‐legal decision‐making. I show that (a) the bounded structure of the decision‐making process actualizes different emotive‐cognitive complexes at different stages and (b) the demand for objectivity in rational decision‐making calls for parallel emotional processes and subject positions to remain independent while sustaining social cohesion.\n"]