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The Neuroscience of Decision Making

The Neuroscience of Decision Making
In an attempt to put matter over mind, researchers are beginning to decipher what exactly is happening in our brains when we are making decisions. Our thoughts, though abstract and vaporous in form, are determined by the actions of specific neuronal circuits in our brains. The interdisciplinary field known as “decision neuroscience” is uncovering those circuits, thereby mapping thinking on a cellular level. Recently, three experts in decision neuroscience discussed their work, describing the genesis of this cutting-edge field and why it incorporates several disciplines. DAEYEOL LEE, PhD, Department of Neurobiology and Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine C. The following is an edited transcript of the teleconference. THE KAVLI FOUNDATION (TKF): Decision neuroscience is a young field. C. LEE: There definitely was a paradigm shift when people realized they could ask more complicated questions related to thinking and decision-making. WANG: Yes. Related:  neuro-

The Philosophy of Neuroscience First published Mon Jun 7, 1999; substantive revision Tue May 25, 2010 Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and normativity. The literature distinguishes “philosophy of neuroscience” and “neurophilosophy.” 1. Contrary to some opinion, actual neuroscientific discoveries have exerted little influence on the details of materialist philosophies of mind. The apology for this lacuna by early identity theorists was that neuroscience at that time was too nascent to provide any plausible identities. 2.

Neuroscientists reveal magicians' secrets - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience NEW YORK — There is a place for magic in science. Five years ago, on a trip to Las Vegas, neuroscientists Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde realized that a partnership was in order with a profession that has an older and more intuitive understanding of how the human brain works. Magicians, it seems, have an advantage over neuroscientists. "Scientists have only studied cognitive illusions for a few decades. Magicians have studied them for hundreds, if not thousands, of years," Martinez-Conde told the audience during a recent presentation here at the New York Academy of Sciences. [ Video: Your Brain on Magic ] She and Macknik, her husband, use illusions as a tool to study how the brain works. After their epiphany in Las Vegas, where they were preparing for a conference on consciousness, the duo, who both direct laboratories at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, teamed up with magicians to learn just how they harness the foibles of our brains. Most popular

Why sleep deprivation can make you unethical - Post Leadership Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 05/13/2011 May 13, 2011 02:21 PM EDT TheWashingtonPost New research shows that sleep deprivation has worse effects than just the occasional mistake or error—and can cost organizations just as much, if not more. In a forthcoming paper in the Academy of Management Journal, highlighted recently in the Financial Times, Michael Christian of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Aleksander Ellis of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management studied sleep-deprived nurses and students who’d pulled all-nighters in a sleep lab. How does this happen? And why does this matter for leaders? The numbers the two professors cite in their paper are startling. Christian and Ellis show that sleep deprivation has worse effects than just the occasional mistake or error—rude behavior and deviance can cost organizations just as much, if not more. More from On Leadership: Mandatory training, sans eye-rolling? Engineering gender parity

Do mirror neurons explain understanding, or is it the other way round? – Neurologism (Alternate title: In Soviet Russia, Mirror Neurons Explain YOU!) A draft of this post has been sitting around for a few weeks, and while I’m happy with today’s sanity check, I still can’t help but suspect that I am missing something in the debate on “action understanding”. So I am happy to be convinced that I have completely misunderstood some key aspect of the mirror neuron story. Mirror neuron “theory” strikes me as an odd mix of interesting experimental results and ambiguous reasoning. First of all, what exactly are mirror neurons? People often refer to mirror neurons as the basis of empathy, based on the idea that our understanding of other people’s actions and feelings depends on our ability to imitate or emulate the feelings of others. I don’t deny that mirror neurons seem to be linked to fascinating phenomena, but we should not be surprised at all to find these phenomena reflected in the brain. I see what you’re doing there! Blogospheric critiques of mirror neuron theory Notes

The Pentagon of Neuroscience — An Infographic/Listicle for Understanding the Neuroculture – Neurologism Click here to go straight to the infographic. It should open in Firefox and Chrome. Neuroscience has hit the big time. Every day, popular newspapers, websites and blogs offer up a heady stew of brain-related self-help (neuro-snake oil?) and gee wiz science reporting (neuro-wow?). Predictably, the boldest claims tend to oversimplify and exaggerate scientific results, which are complex, provisional, tentative, and often mutually contradictory. the difficulty of the science,the growth of funding,the intractability of the never-far-away philosophical issues, andthe insatiable appetite for both neuro-tidbits and neuro-antacid among the secular educated classes, the neuro trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, like a chattering neuron. Se we might as well sit back and enjoy the show, right? In order to make sense of the plots and intrigues in the palace of brain sciences, it is worth contemplating the sheer diversity of traditions that take up residence within its walls. Notes:

40 Questions Everyone is Afraid to Ask Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. -Voltaire …because asking the right questions is the answer. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Also, check out our sister site, Thought Questions, for more photo-illustrated questions like these; and check out The Book of Questions if you’re interested in reading even more thought-provoking questions.Title photo by: Colin Kinner For all other photo credits please refer to Related 40 Photo-Illustrated Questions to Refocus Your Mind Asking the right questions is the answer... February 23, 2012 In "Happiness" 40 Questions that Will Quiet Your Mind Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers … because asking the right questions is the answer. August 5, 2015 25 Questions that Provoke Thought If the question makes you think, it’s worth asking. January 4, 2010 In "Hacks"

Neuroscience Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system.[1] Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine and allied disciplines, philosophy, physics, and psychology. It also exerts influence on other fields, such as neuroeducation[2] and neurolaw. Because of the increasing number of scientists who study the nervous system, several prominent neuroscience organizations have been formed to provide a forum to all neuroscientists and educators. History[edit] The study of the nervous system dates back to ancient Egypt. Early views on the function of the brain regarded it to be a "cranial stuffing" of sorts. The view that the heart was the source of consciousness was not challenged until the time of the Greek physician Hippocrates. Modern neuroscience[edit] Human nervous system

What does fMRI measure, anyway? – Neurologism In the previous post, I began discussing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a popular but controversial experimental technique that allows researchers to investigate brain activity in humans and animals in a relatively safe and non-invasive way. But I found myself commenting more on the problems associated with statistical methods. While these problems are important to acknowledge and deal with, they are not specific to fMRI. In this post I hope to leave stats aside, and examine some of the biophysical assumptions underlying interpretations of fMRI studies. For some years I had been ignoring fMRI papers because of the myriad problems of interpretation, but a recent paper from Aniruddha Das’s group at Columbia University (Cardoso et al., 2012) rekindled my curiosity, and spurred me to survey the literature on the links between neural activity, blood flow, and metabolism in the brain. “It’s a long way from behaviour to BOLD.” Notes: References Singh, K. Sirotin, Y. Bekar, L.