Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Model of Decision-making Incorporates How People Change Their Minds in the Midst of Making a Decision

NATURE published a summary of research on changes of mind in decision-making on September 10th.  It summarized the research in this fashion (Nature link) :

How do we change our minds? Theoretical neuroscientists have developed plausible models for how the brain comes to a decision based on 'noisy' and often ambiguous information, but these assume that once that decision is made, it is made for good. Now a series of experiments on subjects who were asked to move a handle to one of two positions dependent on a noisy visual stimulus has been used to develop a new model that accounts for how and when we change our mind after we make a decision. Analysis of the rare occasions where subjects changed their mind half way through selecting their answer shows that even after making a decision the brain continues to process the information it had gathered — information still in the processing pipeline— to either reverse or reaffirm its initial decision. The new theory introduces the acts of vacillation and self correction into the decision-making process.

The cites for the research follow:

AuthorsAbstractions

doi:10.1038/7261144b

LetterChanges of mind in decision-making

Arbora Resulaj, Roozbeh Kiani, Daniel M. Wolpert & Michael N. Shadlen

doi:10.1038/nature08275

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2009/09/new-model-of-decisionmaking-incorporates-how-people-change-their-minds-in-the-midst-of-making-a-deci.html

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