Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Psychology Professor Maps Choice-making In The Brain

Date:
March 7, 2003
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
The next time you are frustrated by someone who says, "I'm of two minds about this," at least you will know why. The latest research conducted by Kip Smith, an assistant professor of psychology at Kansas State University, may be able to explain why people often can't make up their minds. Smith's current study focuses on which parts of the brain are used in the decision-making process.

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- The next time you are frustrated by someone who says, "I'm of two minds about this," at least you will know why. The latest research conducted by Kip Smith, an assistant professor of psychology at Kansas State University, may be able to explain why people often can't make up their minds. Smith's current study focuses on which parts of the brain are used in the decision-making process.

Related Articles


"We're of at least two minds," Smith said. "This research shows the brain is not a single entity. There is not a single executive decision-making mechanism there."

Smith's research has resulted in neuroimages of the parts of the brain used in different types of choices. Smith said there are two systems for making decisions in the brain: deliberative and emotional. Deliberative systems, also referred to as calculation areas, utilize parts of the brain related to mathematics and rational decisions. Emotional systems utilize older, more primal parts of the brain.

According to Smith, individual behavior is affected by attitudes about payoffs, such as gains and losses, in addition to beliefs about outcomes, such as risk and ambiguity. During the experiments, the brain activity of participants was measured by positron emission tomography. The research demonstrates the relationship between brain activity and observed choices. Smith's results allowed him to create images of the parts of the brain used for risk, ambiguity, gains and losses with decision making in the experiment.

Smith said some of the results were surprising. "We thought that risky losses would be processed by the part of the brain that responds to fear, but they were dealt with in a fairly rational manner," he said. Also, the deliberative areas of the brain did not show high usage with decisions relating to risky gains. "It could be that the emotional areas overwhelm the calculation areas. The results are correlational, because it's not a completely controlled experiment."

Smith's results were published in the June 2002 issue of Management Science in the article "Neuronal Substrates for Choice under Ambiguity, Risk, Gains and Losses." The paper was co-authored by John Dickhaut, University of Minnesota; Kevin McCabe, George Mason University; and Jose V. Pardo, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Minnesota. A second paper, "The Impact of the Certainty Context on the Process of Choice," is forthcoming in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dickhaut, McCabe and Pardo, as well as Aldo Rustichini, University of Minnesota, and Jennifer C. Nagode, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Minnesota, co-authored the second paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Psychology Professor Maps Choice-making In The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030307071159.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2003, March 7). Psychology Professor Maps Choice-making In The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030307071159.htm
Kansas State University. "Psychology Professor Maps Choice-making In The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030307071159.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins