Jonah Lehrer on how we decide.
Could he do a Bloggingheads with Justice Scalia?
And here's the Bush/Obama part:
So if our gut is best at weighty decisions, a leader ought to think, “Should we go to war? Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about this”?
Well, here’s the big caveat, and this is maybe the main distinction between Obama and Bush. There’s been extensive research over the last few decades about the danger of certainty, about believing you’re right. What that causes the brain to do is ignore all the evidence that suggests you’re wrong. We clearly tend to filter the world to conform to our ideology, to our preconceived notions. So if I had to identify one flaw of the Bush administration, it’s not that simply Bush trusted his gut instincts or that he was a “decider.” It was that he and his entire administration fell victim to the certainty trap. And I think you saw that very clearly with the Iraq war and WMDs. They believed they knew that Saddam Hussein had them. And so they ignored lots of relevant evidence and dissenting voices telling them that there were no WMDs. It wasn’t simply his gut instincts that led him astray, it was the fact that he didn’t seek out those dissident voices. And that’s a very natural human flaw, one of the frailties of the human brain. It’s also why liberals watch MSNBC and conservatives watch Fox News. It’s nice to have one’s beliefs reinforced. But it’s dangerous when leading a country.