Brain Study Explains How we Make Decisions

March 26, 2009

(ChattahBox)–A new study from the Journal of Neuroscience, proves that a previously unknown region of our brain makes decisions for us before we are even aware ourselves, what choices we will make. Study leader Dr Tali Sharot, from University College London, discovered that the caudate nucleus region of our brain, contained in the striatum, anticipates rewards, which becomes activated when we are presented with a positive choice.

The researchers hooked up a team of test subjects to brain scan equipment, evaluating their brain activity when presented with various vacation destination choices. Immediately before they verbally chose a particular destination, of say Rome over Spain, the caudate nucleus region lit up like a Christmas tree, signaling their choices before they even voiced them.

The researchers then grouped all the positive choices together for each subject, and discovered that the caudate nucleus region of our brain, re-assessed the choices, verifying their previous commitments made. Researchers termed this re-assessment as rapid update of value, which prevents us from second-guessing every decision we make.

The next time we swiftly make a difficult decision, it’s because our caudate nucleus became activated, offering us a reward.



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