Dr. Spock of Star Trek is the cultural icon of clear thinking because he feels no emotion.
But, to our surprise, we recently found that emotions are critical to rational decision-making. Without emotions, we would be less rational and we would make poorer decisions.
The foremost expert on the role of emotion in decision-making is Antonio Damasio, head of the department of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City. The research of Damasio and his team has shown that emotions play a critical role in making the right decisions.
People who lose the ability to feel emotion make poorer choices. Certain emotions, rather than clouding rational decision-making, are actually essential to it.
Damasio described ...