Good comments Mr. Avery. I think one can see where the cognitive process can be impaired during stressful moments when, unfortunately, keen decision making is required. These emotion-based decisions, like the one the three paddlers made to attempt the crossing earlier than planned to get home sooner (so they thought!) certainly appeared to look like it had the emotional bookmarks often seen in outdoor adventure pursuits where thoughts of home and family, warmth and comfort,, and freedom from a current interpersonal hierarchy that’s not overly joyful override or subdue logical thinking.
Domasio’s somatic-marker hypothesis does seem to have some bearing here, whereby the decision-making paradigm was biased toward what the paddlers thought was an advantageous option – which is what the theory proposes will happen when the cognitive process is overloaded.
We also know that very often there will be conflict and difficulty communicating effectively in a group paddling situation. There will be differences of opinion about conditions yet developing, the question of what sea states can be handled that day, and what the best options should be. It takes common sense, intelligence, cooperation, forthrightness, openness, higher rather than lower emotional IQ, and sometimes – unfortunately, mind-reading. Fortunately, there have been some good examples of good group decision making in the pages of Sea Kayaker over the years; I’m thinking of the La Nina all-female paddling expedition down the outer coast of BC a few years back, where deference was given to the member with the least confidence each day.
Anyway, a sense of calm and grace overwhelms me every time I read anything you write or post here Moulton. Thank you.