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.

In addition, in the new version of Choice Compass for iOS, you can use either a Polar or Elite HRV heartbeat monitor to interface directly with Choice Compass using Bluetooth.

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 patented 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.

Originally, the data showed a statistically significant difference between imagined choices, which seemed to be different (on average) between men and women. We discovered through four years of testing and feedback that gender was not the key identifier — but that there are indeed two different types of heart rhythms that relate in part to gender — in part to some other unique factors. So now instead of asking users to enter their gender in the app, we take you through a calibration process. The calibration process allows Choice Compass to better assess which type of user you are, based on your particular heart rhythms. This addition, made in May of 2021, provides a boost in accuracy.

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 life’s questions by first calibrating the app to your needs. The new version of Choice Compass released in May 2021 requires you to use this calibration process, because we found that it makes Choice Compass much more accuate.