10 Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs
This prefrontal cortex is associated with intellect or IQ. IQ is, in
turn, associated with “hardheaded” thinking processes. Our IQ is tested
as we proceed through our school years. Our IQ score predicts in many
cases if and where we will go to college, whether we are perceived of as
“bright” or “dim,” and certainly whether we qualify for MENSA, the
exclusive organization requiring an IQ in the 98th percentile or above.
Gut Decisions or “Thin-Slicing”
Malcolm Gladwell (2005) challenged the assumption that using the
executive function of our brains leads to the best decisions. Gladwell
proposes instead that we make our best decisions by “thin-slicing.”
He says: “Thin-slicing is not an exotic gift. It is a central part of what
it means to be human. We thin-slice whenever we meet a new per-
son or have to make sense of something quickly or encounter a novel
situation. We thin-slice because we have to, and come to rely on that
ability . . .” (p. 43). (See Appendix: Helpful Websites.)
Thin-slicing is akin to making a “gut decision.” Gilkey, Caceda, and
Kilts maintain that our best decisions are not made through our rational,
executive function (2010, p. 23). Instead, wise decisions utilize all of our
brain resources, including those identified with emotions and intuition:
• Insula: is necessary for emotional processing.
• Anterior cingulated cortex: enables us to make decisions based
on our experience with and evaluation of prior experiences.
• Superior temporal sulcus: allows us to anticipate other people’s
emotions and thoughts by reading their and our own sensory
stimuli. Using all of our brain resources is also known as “EQ” or “emo-
tional intelligence” (Goleman, 1995). EQ, the ability to read people as
well as we read books, draws on our intuition, intellect, sensory capac-
ity, and other internal processes.
The more mature we are emotionally, the greater the library of
stored experiences we have from which to generate intuitive decisions.
In fact, Cozolino in The Neuroscience of Human Relationships (2006) ar-
gues that as we grow in experience, the more streamlined our decision
Irrational or Fear-Driven Decisions
One of the brain’s earliest-developing components, the amyg-
dala gland, is lodged deep inside the head. The amygdala served our