Neural Mechanisms Of Perceptual Decision
In the perceptual decision-making paradigm, subjects are asked to report a direction of motion by using their eye movements when they see randomly moving dots with different levels of motion coherence , or they need to identify whether a picture shows a dog or cat when they see a picture of a dog or cat that has been distorted to various degrees , or they must state whether or not the current stimulus frequency is the same as that of the preceding stimulus frequency . In this paradigm, a stimulus with various degrees of ambiguity is presented to the subject and the subject is asked to identify the stimulus itself or a feature of the stimulus. In the most difficult condition of this paradigm, a stimulus with the highest degree of ambiguity is presented to the subject, and it is impossible for the subject to identify the stimulus or its features. Therefore, decision-making in this condition is similar to decision-making in free-choice conditions.
What Part Of The Brain Analyzes
Occipital lobe: The lateral boundaries of the parietal and temporal lobes are delimited. It is interested in detecting and manipulating graphics. It processes and interprets what we see. To view and draw assumptions about visual images, the Occipital lobe analyzes factors such as form, colour, and movement.
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What Happens In Your Brain When You Make A Decision
Analysis: there are many common factors in the thousands of decisions we make every day.
Trying to find the ways we process and finalise decisions has been the focus of researchers in many disciplines, including philosophers, economists and psychologists. The different disciplines seem to take different approaches on how to study decision making. Economists seem to focus more on what we should ideally do to make a right choice or decision, while psychologists are more preoccupied with what decisions we actually make.
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From RTÉ Radio 1’s;Marian Finucane show, psychologist Owen Fitzpatrick on the psychology of decision making
The role that memory plays in making decisions, and sometimes bad decisions, is very relevant
Many of the decisions we make are based on probability judgements on the possible outcome and whether perceived probabilities prevail over objective probabilities. In which case, it is more possible to make a bad decision. Perceived probabilities which can be affected by recent events and experiences, emotional state and other factors, can;lead to more mistakes and bad decisions made, as shown by relevant human experiments some of which were conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
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Thinking And Choosing In The Brain
PASADENA, Calif.The frontal lobes are the largest part of the human brain, and thought to be the part that expanded most during human evolution. Damage to the frontal lobeswhich are located just behind and above the eyescan result in profound impairments in higher-level reasoning and decision making. To find out more about what different parts of the frontal lobes do, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology recently teamed up with researchers at the world’s largest registry of brain-lesion patients. By mapping the brain lesions of these patients, the team was able to show that reasoning and behavioral control are dependent on different regions of the frontal lobe than the areas called upon when making a decision.
Their findings are described online this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
The team analyzed data that had been acquired over a 30-plus-year time span by scientists from the University of Iowa’s department of neurologywhich has the world’s largest lesion patient registry. They used that data to map brain activity in nearly 350 people with damage, or lesions, in their frontal lobes. The records included data on the performances of each patient while doing certain cognitive tasks.
Enthusiasm Without The Career Capital
Cal Newport advises in So Good They Cant Ignore You Great work doesnt just require great courage, but also skills of great value. He calls these rare and valuable skills that enable us to do great work as career capital.;;
Thinking big can lure us into giving up what we have with a promise of a better tomorrow without the financial security and right skills to back up our vision.;
Its important to visualise the path ahead as it sets the direction, but then take small steps in that direction, validate our ideas and refine them further. Jumping right to action with our big ideas may hit us so hard that we may lose the opportunity to see it come to life.;
The right attitude to thinking big requires assessing the career capital to stand apart and then taking steps to acquire it.;
S Of The Brain Involved In Speech
In recent decades, there has been an explosion of research into language processing in the brain. Its now generally accepted that the control of speech is part of a complex network in the brain.
The formation of speech requires many different processes, from putting thoughts into words, forming a comprehensible sentence, and then actually making the mouth move to make the correct sounds.
There are several areas of the brain known to play a role in speech:
The Lobes Of The Brain
Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into four lobes: frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal. The frontal lobes are the largest sections of the brain and make up the front portion of the cerebrum. The frontal lobes are the main thought processing center and control reasoning, problem solving, decision making, language and personality traits.
The temporal lobes are found on the sides of the brain, just above the ears. This part of the brain is responsible for short-term memory, understanding speech and recognizing sounds. Together with the frontal lobes, they identify and process smells.
The back portion of the cerebrum are the occipital lobes, which control vision. Lying interior to the frontal, temporal and occipital lobes are the parietal lobes. The parietals are the sensory processing center of the brain and are responsible for spoken language and learning.
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See What They Can Do For You
What made me most excited was to be able to help my family, being able to pull the burden out of them that theyve been struggling with. Thats what made me feel the best. Everything else to come, is to come. And were going to live life how we have been, just not going to have to worry about buying the supplies that I need.
- Brain Lobes Overview
Our brains may be what make us who we are. As the seat of consciousness, the home to our memories, and the processing center for all of our experiences, the brain affects every second of our lives. Over time, experiences shape the structure and function of the brain, but one thing remains constant: all vertebrates have a cerebrum. This new part of the brain is a recent evolutionary development, with older structures such as the cerebellum and brain stem predating this complex organ.
Most scientists believe that conscious experience, including a sense of self, occurs in the cerebrum, which means that all animals with a cerebrum have the capacity for consciousness. The size of the brains lobes, the extent of their development, and numerous other factors–including social relationships–all affect the extent to which an animal is consciously aware.
Reconstructing The Neural Puzzle
At Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, we have developed a simple task that re-creates the lighter-flicking experience. Here, mice naturally forage for water but drops are delivered sparsely and sometimes, at random, the water resource becomes depleted. This is just like a capricious lighter that produces flames inconsistently, until the reserve of gas suddenly runs low.
In our experiment, we carefully monitor the behaviour of the mice during this task to understand how persistent they are in searching for water, and when they give up to explore somewhere else. Using computational models, we can explain the main aspects of this decision-making process. According to Pietro Vertechi, my colleague who developed the model:
By translating a difficult decision process in a naturalistic setting , we can study cognition in parallel in mice and humans. Just like in the equivalent naturalistic scenario, the animal receives many different stimuli , most of which are irrelevant to solving the task. Mathematical modelling tells us what are the important variables that the subject should be tracking . We can then test what brain regions encode that information and how.
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Blood Supply To The Brain
Two sets of blood vessels supply blood and oxygen to the brain: the vertebral arteries and the carotid arteries.
The external carotid arteries extend up the sides of your neck, and are where you can feel your pulse when you touch the area with your fingertips. The internal carotid arteries branch into the skull and circulate blood to the front part of the brain.
The vertebral arteries follow the spinal column into the skull, where they join together at the brainstem and form the basilar artery, which supplies blood to the rear portions of the brain.
The circle of Willis, a loop of blood vessels near the bottom of the brain that connects major arteries, circulates blood from the front of the brain to the back and helps the arterial systems communicate with one another.
What Areas Of The Brain Control Executive Functioning
Executive functions are located primarily in the prefrontal regions of the frontal lobe with multiple neuronal connections to other cortical, subcortical and brainstem regions. Neuroimaging and lesion studies from a variety of neurological diseases and injury models have confirmed the findings. However, it should be noted that prefrontal injury does not directly affect specific cognitive or linguistic processes; rather it affects their regulation and effective use, likely through alteration of the numerous neuronal connections between the prefrontal cortex and other brain regions.
If the distinction between a cognitive process and executive control over the process is not clearly drawn, assessment results may be incorrectly interpreted and inappropriate treatment prescribed .
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is involved in online processing of information such as integrating different dimensions of cognition and behavior. The areas have been found to be linked to verbal and design fluency, ability to maintain and shift set, planning, response inhibition, working recall, organization skills, reasoning, problem solving and abstract thinking.
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Frontal Lobe Damage Symptoms
Symptoms of damage to the frontal lobe can vary because there are so many functions carried out by the frontal lobes. These symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Weakness on one side of the body or one side of the face
- Inability to problem solve or organize tasks
- Reduced creativity
- Reduced sense of taste or smell
- Low attention span, easily distractedï»¿ï»¿
- Reduced or increased sexual interest or peculiar sexual habits
- Impulsive or risky behavior
From Decision To Action
Although the decisions we make greatly affect our everyday life, how we deliberate and commit is a complex process that we only partially understand. This topic has been largely studied from ethological and theoretical perspectives and neuroscientists are beginning to uncover several brain areas that contribute to solving dilemmas and act upon them . Yet, we are still far from being able to comprehend the sinuous path from decision to action, because even the most mundane decisions involve many brain areas and cooperative interactions between many cells .
Take the example of the lighter. To decide whether to continue flicking, you must first gather information: is there a flame or not? This will activate the regions inside your brain that are responsible for processing sensory information such as sight or touch. Then, you may be satisfied if you see the flame, or surprised if you dont. This is because such sensory information is communicated to your reward system. In turn, the reward circuitry, which releases the molecule dopamine, will help motivate the choice of your next action .
Finally, you have to decide how much time you are willing to spend flicking the lighter. This will likely depend on whether you have another one handy. How stubborn you are may be regulated by serotonin, a neuromodulator that has been linked to patience and persistence even when facing uncertain rewards.
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Crossing The Comfort Zone
Thinking big involves crossing the mental boundary of comfort to explore the discomfort. Thinking about these goals may invoke feelings of fear and doubt as we do not see the path yet, but one needs to be careful as this is where things can get a little bit challenging.;
As Michael Hyatt says Theres a fine line between your discomfort zone and delusional zone. Goals in the discomfort zone challenge. Goals in the delusional zone just discourage. Knowing when we are practical and when we are unreasonable makes a huge difference in our ability to think big and think right.
Ventricles And Cerebrospinal Fluid
Deep in the brain are four open areas with passageways between them. They also open into the central spinal canal and the area beneath arachnoid layer of the meninges.
The ventricles manufacture cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, a watery fluid that circulates in and around the ventricles and the spinal cord, and between the meninges. CSF surrounds and cushions the spinal cord and brain, washes out waste and impurities, and delivers nutrients.
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Speaking Slowly Or Slurring Words
If Brocas area is damaged, a person might find it difficult to produce the sounds of speech or may speak very slowly and slur their words. Speech is often limited to short sentences of less than four words. This is called Brocas aphasia or nonfluent aphasia.
Another cause is if stroke or injury damages the areas of the brain that control movements of the muscles of the mouth or tongue.
Relationship Between Both Halves Of The Brain
Although we have commented that each hemisphere has its peculiarities and has its own functions, this does not mean that they are radically different from each other or that they do not carry out activities together.;
What must be understood is that there are activities that are carried out mainly by one of the two hemispheres and others in which it is the task of its counterpart.
As a curiosity, the research points out that interhemispheric differences are something distinctive of the human species.;
In most people, both hemispheres complement each other. Normally, verbal aspects such as speech are under the control of the left hemisphere; however, there are cases, especially in left-handed people, in which speech is an activity exerted by areas located in both hemispheres.
In addition, it has been seen that, in situations in which a brain injury occurs, there may be changes in the location of certain functions.;
This transfer of functions is especially significant in childhood, at which time, thanks to brain plasticity, the brain tries to save its own capacity from the injured area by making it another area, and it may be from the opposite hemisphere, who becomes position.
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What Part Of The Brain Controls Happiness
Happiness refers to an overall state of well-being or satisfaction. When you feel happy, you generally have positive thoughts and feelings.
Imaging studies suggest that the happiness response originates partly in the limbic cortex. Another area called the precuneus also plays a role. The precuneus is involved in retrieving memories, maintaining your sense of self, and focusing your attention as you move about your environment.
A 2015 study found that people with larger gray matter volume in their right precuneus reported being happier. Experts think the precuneus processes certain information and converts it into feelings of happiness. For example, imagine youve spent a wonderful night out with someone you care about. Going forward, when you recall this experience and others like it, you may experience a feeling of happiness.
It may sound strange, but the beginnings of romantic love are associated with the stress response triggered by your hypothalamus. It makes more sense when you think about the nervous excitement or anxiety you feel while falling for someone.
As these feelings grow, the hypothalamus triggers release of other hormones, such as dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin.
Dopamine is associated with your bodys reward system. This helps make love a desirable feeling.
Vasopressin is similarly produced in your hypothalamus and released by your pituitary gland. Its also involved in social bonding with a partner.
The Brain And Decision Making
The origin of freedom is in the brain and this capacity is nothing more than the possibility of choosing between different actions or forms of language. Human beings have autonomy to do one thing or another and to suppress what is not wanted. In both cases, it is an election that includes the option to do nothing.
The ability to decide is, above all, in the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain that adjusts us to the environment and has a late development in people. In reality, full maturity is not acquired until we are approaching the third decade of life, when the maturation process of the cerebral cortex ends.;
At that age we manage to postpone gratification, something that a child who wants everything in the here and now cannot do. For this reason, the prefrontal cortex is what opens us to freedom and creativity.
Perhaps few manage to realize that when making decisions the worst obstacle or enemy to overcome is the mind itself, since a good part of our behaviors are unconscious.;
These almost automatic behaviors are called heuristic routines and are intended to help the person in the choices that they must make on a daily basis. In other words, they are internal processes that automate choices and make it possible to choose alternatives expeditiously and economically in terms of energy consumption.
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