"Why do we act?" Am interested in the issues raised in the article on Reasoning & Cognitive Control

In particular: "Can reasoning itself have causal or motivational force, for example in countering affect or impulse, or must it arouse/recruit affect in order to have such influence?" Seems to me when we reflect on our motivations we can encounter many things: desires, thoughts, emotions, confusion, imprints from experience, etc. Most likely there's not a black-&-white answer here. Perhaps only a subset of our motivations can be articulated through reasoning? Could reasoning actually be "self-fulfilling" in some contexts? The question: "why did you do that" might elicit reasons as a response for a particular act but can reason always explain motivation - or only rationalize it?
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    ABSTRACT: Recent “Social Intuitionist” work suggests that moral judgments are intuitive (not based on conscious deliberation or any significant chain of inference), and that the reasons we produce to explain or justify our judgments and actions are for the most part post hoc rationalizations rather than the actual source of those judgments. This is consistent with work on judgment and explanation in other domains, and it correctly challenges one-sidedly “rationalistic” accounts. We suggest that in fact reasoning has a great deal of influence on moral judgments and on intuitive judgments in general. This influence is not apparent from study of judgments simply in their immediate context, but it is crucial for the question of how cognition can help us avoid deleterious effects and enhance potentially beneficial effects of affect on judgment, action, and cognition itself. We begin with established work on several reactive strategies for cognitive control of affect (e.g., suppression, reappraisal), then give special attention to more complex sorts of conflict (“extended deliberation”) involving multiple interacting factors, both affective and reflective. These situations are especially difficult to study in a controlled way, but we propose some possible experimental approaches. We then review proactive strategies for control, including “avoidance of temptation” and mindfulness meditation (Froeliger, et al, 2012, This Issue). We give special attention to the role of slow or “cool” cognitive processes (e.g., deliberation, planning, executive control) in the inculcation of long-term dispositions, traits, intuitions, skills or habits. The latter are critical because they in turn give rise to a great many of our fast, intuitive judgments. The reasoning processes involved here are distinct from post hoc rationalizations and have a very real impact on countless intuitive judgments in concrete situations. This calls for a substantial enlargement of research on cognitive control, drawing on work in developmental psychology, automatization, educational theory, and other fields.
    Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 11/2012; 6. DOI:10.3389/fnint.2012.00114