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How the brain solves the problem of choice

October 26, 2016 17:05

brain10/07/2016 19:15

The choice, as is known, leads to action, but how this process is going on in the brain? First person makes a choice between different options. For example, the yellow lights when approaching traffic lights, we have to decide to press on the gas pedal or stop. Depending on the solutions organism selects the appropriate motor response, in this case the movement of the foot to the left or right. Traditionally it is assumed that some parts of the brain are responsible for these stages.

Two neurologist, Anna Anthony Pope and head of the research group Marcus Siegel of the Center for Integrative Neuroscience found evidence that influences the intuitive distinction between a "decisive" and "responsible" stage in the decision-making process. The study is published in the latest edition of Nature Communications.

During the recording of brain activity in motor areas using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to the Pope and Siegel chose 20 people and asked to solve a simple problem (whether on the screen moving the point). The subjects answered "yes" or "no" by pressing the left or right hand. Shows the response varied for each test. Brain participants could not plan a motor response (ie, the right button click) in the process of selection. In other words, they are often simply presses a button that is pressed directly to the current issue.

According to MEG, Pope and Siegel found neural correlate in most motor cortex. They showed that the forthcoming decision engine can be predicted based on the state of the motor cortex before forming solutions. A preliminary decision at the motor activity originates from the neural balance of previous motor response.

The results obtained have questioned the traditional view of the decision making process. According to this view, the solution formed in the prefrontal cortex and the frontal-parietal cortex, areas that are associated with "higher" brain functions necessary for memory and problem solving. Contrary to this view, the Pope and Siegel indicates that the motor cortex of the brain also plays a role in shaping decisions.

It turns out people randomly "decides" what to do, based on the state of the motor cortex? Anna Anthony, analyzed the data, does not think so: "Higher brain areas are still very important for the decision-making process, but now we know that the motor sections are the deciding factor."

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