Within the spectrum of how quickly people decide things (most people (80%) doing it quickly and with little to no thought), there are three categories of how people make decisions: emotionally, intellectually, and intuitively. As you may have guessed, the emotional decision makers are the ones that most quickly make decisions because they are reacting based upon how they feel about the subject. But it's not that simple...
Recent studies have shown that emotions are an essential part of the decision-making process for everyone. Yeah, it defies reason, because you'd think that making decisions is based on logic and reason and stuff, but, well, it's totally not.
"So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion." *
"Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest. That’s emotional. I want this. This is good for me and my side." **link
"The brain's wiring emphatically relies on emotion over intellect in decision-making" ****link
There's a lot more I could go into with this stuff, such as how almost all people accept the first piece of information they receive on a subject as true whether it's true or not [There was a fascinating study done where people were intentionally given false "facts" and, later, when the researchers came back and gave them the real facts, most of them (yeah, around 80%) would not look at the new information. They steadfastly held to the falsehoods even when told "we lied to you." They had already formed an "emotional attachment" to the information and no amount of counter evidence would persuade them. They believed they were being lied to in the second case rather than believe they had originally bought into a lie.], but, then, this piece would go on forever.
To give this some personal flavor, I ran into this kind of behavior for the first time around the third grade. I had learned some new fact at school, and, for some reason, it came up later with my family. My (step)father disagreed with my fact and told me I was wrong. I fell back on "my teacher said," and he told me she was wrong. I wouldn't let it go, so, later, we looked it up, and it turned out that I was correct, but my father said the resource material was also wrong. When I tried to argue with that, he told me he was right because "he said so." Then I got punished. It was a very eye opening situation.
Unfortunately, later, I would find out that most people are actually like this, refusing to accept facts in favor of what they already believe. They may not be quite as volatile about it as my dad was, but they are just the same.
The point is that very few people can break out of their emotional center when making decisions and most people (around 80%) make decisions solely based upon how they feel about whatever it is that's being decided. I like this; therefore, it is right.
The second group of people are the ones that make decisions intellectually. This is a more rational process in which the person needs information in order to make decisions. These are the list makers, those people that you know that list out all of the pros and cons of something before they can figure out what to do. Unfortunately, emotions are frequently behind the need to make the decision in this manner, such as the fear of making the wrong choice or, even, the driving desire to make the correct choice. Frequently, people also use this technique to bolster the decision they have already come to from an emotional standpoint, but they want or need for it to appear to be a rational decision. Still, all of this is slightly better than reacting from a purely emotional standpoint. These people make up most of the remaining 20%.
The last percent or two of decision makers are what's called intuitive thinkers. Science isn't really sure about these guys. Intuitive thinkers gather information, but it's not in the same way as the intellectuals. The intuitives are more likely to evoke empathy in their decision making by looking at the argument from multiple points of view. This goes beyond a mere list of pros and cons but involves taking into account how the differing sides feel about the situation. It takes the varying emotional viewpoints into consideration. After gathering all of the information, the intuitive decision-maker attempts to make the "right" decision, not necessarily the most objectively correct decision.
One thing we do know is that empathy, actual empathy, is fairly rare. Mostly, what people do is sympathy and mistake that for empathy. Sympathy is "I feel bad for you," but sympathy is also imagining how you would feel if you were in the same situation as the other person, "I'd feel really bad if I was going through that, so I feel bad for you." People often get that second one mixed up with empathy and, while it is a step toward empathy, it is not empathy. Empathy says, "You feel bed, so I feel bad with you." Or whatever the applicable emotion is. One keeps your own emotions intact; the other suppresses your own emotions in favor of the other person's.
Yeah, not even science has a good grip on empathy, what it is, how it works, or why so few people are capable of it. What we know for sure is that animals, especially dogs, are much better at it than people. Sure, many people may experience a flash of empathy once or twice in their lives, but actual empathetic people (on a sustained basis) are few and far between. What studies have shown, though, is that empathy is required in order to make decisions that go against your own emotional needs. It takes the ability to be able to say "that other person's emotional requirements are more important than mine are, right now, so I'm going to put my own decision aside in favor of the other person's."
What all of this says is that reasoning with someone with an opposing view is rather pointless, because less than 20% of people have even a chance of being swayed by rational discourse. It doesn't matter what kind of logic is used or how much evidence you have; you can't change someone's mind that way. The only way to change someone's mind is by manipulating their emotions, and, guess what, that's exactly what commercials strive to do, get you to make an emotional connection with the product, whether that product is a thing, a person, or a position.
The other thing we know (scientifically) is that ideologies are strong emotional positions, and it's very (very) difficult to sway someone to an opposing viewpoint. In fact, unless the person only has a very shallow belief, psychology suggests that it's impossible without some sort of emotional crisis. For instance, a person that believes we have the right to own guns and own any kind of gun we want to own and that the government has no business knowing anything about it is likely to change his position if a loved one is killed in an episode of gun violence. He will suddenly "see the light" and realize how wrong he has always been and switch sides in the gun debate. As an example.
So, great, we have all of this information, but what good does it do us? Well, most of science will tell you that you are one of these ways because you were born that way and tough luck; however, there is some research that suggests that empathetic behavior models can be taught to children. The research is ongoing in that. I do know that people can learn, through (very) concerted effort, to make better decisions. To remove themselves from the emotion and approach the situation from the outside. Most people just aren't willing to do that. I also know that through (very) concerted effort people can learn to not accept every bit of information at face value.
I got kind of lucky with that. I had a great teacher at just the right time that taught me never to just accept what anyone was telling me, no matter who it was or how much I trusted that person. Even when it's people we trust, we can be mislead, not necessarily because that person may be trying to be misleading us but because that person might believe the wrong thing. Like my dad. That really became the operating basis for my life. Always confirm. Not that I always do that, because the piece of information may not be important enough to spend the time on, but I also won't give it any weight until I've seen evidence to back it up.
Let me just say that I've been in the room with preacher teaching an internet hoax as fact and leave it at that. You just don't want to be that person.