How “Decisions” Really Get Made – Instantly and Unconsciously

Aside

My views on decision making, choice, executive function, cognitive workspace, emotions, consciousness I take from Paul Cisek – bottom line: “decisions” get made in the premotor brain areas, instantly.  The following is a bit technical but if you don’t understand something — Google it! Continue reading

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Sex/Money Have Different Brain Areas

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This is very interesting.  Just look at the spatial relationship relative to the eyes and the brain stem.  Sex/mating stimuli processing is right behind where the come in the eyes and are real close to the brain stem where behavior is driven.  But money stimuli is processed “far” above and farther out “front” of the brain and well away from the brain stem.  In fact the money processing is about as far away from the brain stem as possible, and on the left side which is more analytic.

Wny would money be so far removed from the behavioral centers?  Distance in the brain means much longer processing time and much newer capabilities – in evolutionary time.  Fascinating.

Specific brain areas for sex, money

Specific brain areas for sex, money

This image illustrates the dissociation between primary and secondary rewards in the orbitofrontal cortex, a frontal region of the brain that is known to play a role in the evaluation of gratification.

  • The more primitive region (in the back, shown in yellow) represents the value of erotic images shown to the participants
  • while the most recent region (in the front, in blue) represents the value of monetary prizes won by the volunteers in the experiment.

… first evidence that the orbitofrontal cortex (located in the anterior ventral part of the brain) contains distinct regions that respond to secondary rewards like money as well as more primary gratifications like erotic images. ….

In our everyday lives, we often encounter various types of “rewards”….Moreover, we must often choose between them, or trade one for another.  To do this, we must be able to compare their relative value on a single consistent scale, which suggests that all types of rewards are assessed in the same .  At the same time it is possible that, due to their individual characteristics, different rewards may activate distinct cerebral regions. In particular, there could be a dissociation between so-called “primary” gratifications such as food or sex, which satisfy basic vital needs and have an innate value, and more “secondary” rewards such as money or power, which are not essential for survival and whose value is assessed by association with primary gratifications. Continue reading