Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain study shows why some people are more in tune with what they want

Date:
December 9, 2012
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how the brain assesses confidence in its decisions. The findings explain why some people have better insight into their choices than others.

Wellcome Trust researchers have discovered how the brain assesses confidence in its decisions. The findings explain why some people have better insight into their choices than others.

Throughout life, we're constantly evaluating our options and making decisions based on the information we have available. How confident we are in those decisions has clear consequences. For example, investment bankers have to be confident that they're making the right choice when deciding where to put their clients' money.

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL led by Professor Ray Dolan have pinpointed the specific areas of the brain that interact to compute both the value of the choices we have in front of us and our confidence in those choices, giving us the ability to know what we want.

The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure activity in the brains of twenty hungry volunteers while they made choices between food items that they would later eat. To determine the subjective value of the snack options, the participants were asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay for each snack. Then after making their choice, they were asked to report how confident they were that they had made the right decision and selected the best snack.

It has previously been shown that a region at the front of the brain, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, is important for working out the value of decision options. The new findings reveal that the level of activity in this area is also linked to the level of confidence participants placed on choosing the best option. The study also shows that the interaction between this area of the brain and an adjacent area reflects participants' ability to access and report their level of confidence in their choices.

Dr Steve Fleming, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow now based at New York University, explains: "We found that people's confidence varied from decision to decision. While we knew where to look for signals of value computation, it was very interesting to also observe neural signals of confidence in the same brain region."

Dr Benedetto De Martino, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL, added: "Overall, we think our results provide an initial account both of how people make choices, and also their insight into the decision process."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Benedetto De Martino, Stephen M Fleming, Neil Garrett, Raymond J Dolan. Confidence in value-based choice. Nature Neuroscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3279

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Brain study shows why some people are more in tune with what they want." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121209152642.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2012, December 9). Brain study shows why some people are more in tune with what they want. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121209152642.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Brain study shows why some people are more in tune with what they want." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121209152642.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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:
from the past week

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