Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Challenge Popular Decision-making Theory

Date:
October 8, 2004
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University have completed a study challenging a popular theory that claims bodily states can guide decision-making when conscious knowledge isn't available.

PITTSBURGH -- Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University have completed a study challenging a popular theory that claims bodily states can guide decision-making when conscious knowledge isn't available. The paper, written by doctoral student Tiago V. Maia and James L. McClelland, the Walter Van Dyke Bingham Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, will be published online next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Articles


The study examines the somatic marker hypothesis, which states that when an individual faces a decision, each alternative elicits a bodily state – a somatic marker – that corresponds to an emotional reaction. According to the hypothesis, these markers influence decision-making and can guide the individual to make an advantageous choice even in the absence of conscious knowledge to guide the decision. The somatic marker hypothesis was proposed by neurologist Antonio Damasio in his best-selling book, "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain."

Maia and McClelland found that in testing the hypothesis using a simple card game, Damasio and his colleagues used a test of conscious knowledge that was not sensitive enough to detect everything the participants knew about the game; thus, individuals may have been guided by their knowledge, rather than their bodily states. Maia and McClelland also reviewed other evidence used to support the somatic marker hypothesis, and found that, in all cases, recent results suggest alternative interpretations for that evidence.

"It is important to note that our results and review of related work do not prove that the somatic marker hypothesis is wrong; however, they do undermine virtually all sources of support for it. If the somatic marker hypothesis is to remain viable, new evidence to support it will be required," Maia and McClelland said.

McClelland is the co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, which is run jointly by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. The Department of Psychology is one of eight departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon Researchers Challenge Popular Decision-making Theory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041007082527.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2004, October 8). Carnegie Mellon Researchers Challenge Popular Decision-making Theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041007082527.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon Researchers Challenge Popular Decision-making Theory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041007082527.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
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