Does Science Really Get The Final Say?

Issue 4 2018

"Does Science Really Get The Final Say?"

The Science and Emotion of Decision-Making

Every day, doctors choose to prescribe one of many comparable treatment options over another. And while years of study and a detailed understanding of complex scientific data contributes to how these decisions are made, research tells us there’s something else is at play…

A few years ago, American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio conducted a groundbreaking study on patients with damage to their limbic systems – the area of the brain that generates emotion. Besides their injuries, they all had one thing in common: they each found the simplest of decisions, such as what to have for lunch, very difficult to make.

As later referenced in his seminal book Descartes Error, Damasio found that science doesn’t, in fact, have the final say. Despite understanding what is logical, his subject’s ability to make a decision at the very point of choice came down to emotion – how they did or didn’t feel.

So, if ‘fact’ or logic is the driver, and emotion is the ultimate decider, what does this mean for healthcare marketers looking to influence prescribing behaviour? It’s a question we’re asked just about every day. And after years of working closely with healthcare professionals and delivering medical education events, strategic services and creative campaigns, we believe we have the answer.


We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.