Decision Making Process | The Science Behind Choice Compass | Mind Body Connection
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The Science Behind Choice Compass

How Choice Compass Works

For decades, physiologists have known that heartbeat patterns are related to the mind body connection. By taking advantage of this connection, Choice Compass supports your decision making process by analyzing your heartbeat patterns to help you estimate which of two choices, at the present time, seems to bring you the most joy.

Some people have asked about our heartbeat detection algorithm — “How can my smartphone’s camera lens pick up on my heartbeat?” The answer is simple. We use the same technology that is used by multiple apps to accurately detect heartbeats. Similar to a pulse oximeter, our algorithm looks at changes in the red value of your finger to extrapolate your heart rhythm.

The Science Behind the Decision Making Process

We deliberate about our decisions, often switching back and forth quickly between two choices as we do this. “I could accept this new promotion, but then I’d have new problems, but I’d also get a raise, yet I couldn’t see my boyfriend as much…” It can be exhausting, and it is much easier to get clarity on a choice by thinking about each choice separately instead of flip-flopping back and forth. Also, this kind of obsessive deliberation does not take advantage of the information gathered by our subconscious minds. Psychology research suggests that for decisions that take a lot of different factors into account, our subconscious minds can actually have a better grasp of the right decision than our conscious minds.

Choice Compass combines these two ideas: 1) we need to concentrate on the possible outcomes of our choices one at a time, and 2) it seems we can tap into our subconscious minds by using the relationship between heart rhythms and emotional state, in other words, by taking advantage of the mind body connection.

Multiple researchers have found that there is a connection between emotional states and changes in heart rhythm, which has led to several apps and digital tools related to monitoring heart-rate variability (HRV) to promote relaxation and joyfulness.

By doing some of our own research in this area and determining how attempts at making negative and positive choices influence these same parameters, we have developed a proprietary and patent-pending algorithm to help you with the decision making process. This algorithm is the engine behind Choice Compass. The algorithm doesn’t measure HRV, but does use some of the ideas behind HRV (see below).

Essentially, Choice Compass compares your heart rhythm when you think about one choice and then an opposing choice, and reports to you which choice seems to be the most joyful, according to the algorithm. The determination of the ‘most joyful’ decision is based on your mind body connection; in other words, the connection between your thoughts and how they influence your physiology.

Putting the Decision Making Process to the Test

We started with extensive research and testing. We asked hundreds of beta testers to use Choice Compass to make comparisons between positive choices (e.g. “I choose to feel joy,”) and negative choices (e.g. “I choose to feel miserable”). Based on these data, we were able to fine-tune our final algorithm, so that it significantly differentiated positive from negative choices.

Women and Men tests
The data showed a statistically significant difference between imagined choices, for both men and women. The reason we separate men and women here is that our research revealed a gender difference — the way the algorithm works for men seems to be very close to the reverse of how it works for women. So that means to use the app, you need to choose which gender you are, and Choice Compass will analyze your heartbeat patterns differently depending on your gender.

Based on previous research indicating that hormones like progesterone influence heart rate patterns, our guess is that this difference is a hormonal one. Please refer to the Choice Compass Tips document in the Settings Tab of the app if you are post-menopausal or not sure about your hormonal state.

The Reality Behind the Mind Body Connection and Digital Apps

It’s important to note that Choice Compass is not a medical device, and we do not want people using it as if it is measuring HRV.

No one person or computer can accurately predict the outcomes of real life choices, because there is no endpoint to measure.

Consider this, let’s say Choice Compass tells you to take a particular job 9 times out of 10. You take the job, but find yourself utterly miserable; that is, until you meet your soulmate at the new job. Would this be considered a failure or success? Furthermore, let’s say you end up spending more time with your new companion than you do your job, thus getting laid off.

Again, is this a failure or success? This process could go on and on. In other words, there is no clear and obvious endpoint to measure. With that said, what we can say for certain is that the Choice Compass app uses the idea that heart rhythms can give you information about your mood as you think about each choice, and in so doing, you can take advantage of the mind body connection.

The Bottom Line for Decision Making Apps

Choice Compass works to help you distinguish between the ways your body feels about two choices. The best way to take advantage of this scientifically-inspired decision making app is to answer lifepath questions by first calibrating the app to your needs.

1. Run an “I choose to feel miserable” versus “I choose to celebrate life” comparison 3-5 times.

2. If it tells you to “feel miserable” the majority of the time, then use Choice Compass, but reverse all of its answers! This would mean that your physiology is different from most of the individuals we tested. It’s not wrong, just different. As long as it is consistent, you can still use the tool for your decision making process. Please see Choice Compass Tips on your Settings Tab (in the app) for more information to make sure you are using the app correctly.

3. If Choice Compass answers seem to have no consistent response, please email us at info@choicecompass.com.

4. However, if Choice Compass tells you to “celebrate life” the majority of the time, as it did with the majority of our testers, then you can feel pretty confident about using Choice Compass as an additional tool for decision making.