Gut instinct and wisdom

Gut instinct and wisdom

A parole board talks with a convicted rapist and ponders whether to release him. A clinical psychologist ponders whether her patient is seriously suicidal. A physician notes a patient’s symptoms and decides whether to recommend an invasive test. A school social worker ponders whether a child’s overheard threat was a macho joke, a onetime outburst, or a signal indicating a potential school assassin.

All these professionals must decide whether to make their judgments subjec­tively or objectively. Should they listen to their gut instincts, their hunches, their inner wisdom? Or should they rely on the wisdom embedded in formulas, statisti­cal analyses, and computerized predictions?

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