Advances in "decision neuroscience" have given us new insight into the question of whether the best decisions are made on instinct or through long mental deliberation. All the evidence points to one answer: It depends. "The belief in the academic field is that emotions are essential to decision-making, otherwise you'll end up making bad decisions," says Stanford marketing professor Baba Shiv. "But I can show the opposite as well, that brain-damaged patients can make better decisions than normal individuals."

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