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Being Decisive

I was reading The Economist the other day, there is a special section, a survey of the brain.  I didn’t think I would be reading much of it (I’m lost when it comes to biology).  But then there is one article called “Captain Kirk’s revenge – Emotion is essential to human survival”, and I thought it was interesting.  Near the end of the article, it talks about one interesting case:

Elliot was a responsible individual with a good job (and in his case a family, too) before he suffered his brain damage. The outcome was somewhat different in that Elliot did not become a foul-mouthed wastrel; rather, he became obsessed with detail and stopped being able to make sensible decisions. The overall result was similar, though. He lost his job and his wife and ended up an outcast.

At first, Dr Damasio thought that Elliot’s tumour had damaged his reason (both lesion studies and fMRI have shown that the frontal cortex is also the seat of the brain’s reasoning powers). Tests, however, showed that what had gone instead were his emotions. Elliot no longer felt anything, and although he could summarise the choices available in a given situation as well as anyone else, without his emotions to guide him he could not actually make a choice. And, as probably happened with Gage, that loss of emotion also changed his self. ((The Economist. London: Dec 23, 2006. Vol. 381, Iss. 8509;  pg. 6))

I guess whenever I am being indecisive, it is usually the case where I have no strong emotion/feelings toward any of the available options, e.g. where to go for lunch after the church service (the burning question every Sunday)  Maybe emotion is what Artificial Intelligence lacking; there might be cases where a robot analyize all that there is without coming up with a conclusion/decision.  Maybe that is one reason why Data from Star Trek always wanted to have the emotion capability. –KC

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