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Emotions in making decisions

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by Amazoniac, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Amazoniac

    Amazoniac Member

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    A study done to compare people with lesions in the VM (ventromedial prefrontal) cortex with normal subjects and how that affects their ability to make decisions.

    http://worthylab.tamu.edu/Courses_files ... _2004_.pdf

    "Patients with bilateral lesions of the VM cortex (Fig. 1) develop severe impairments in personal and social decision-making, in spite of otherwise largely preserved intellectual abilities. Before their brain damage, they have normal intelligence and creativity. After the damage, they develop difficulties in planning their workday and future; difficulties in choosing friends, partners, and activities (Bechara, Damasio et al., 2000; Bechara, Tranel, & Damasio, 2002)."

    "From these results we suggested that the VM patients' performance profile is comparable to their real-life inability to decide advantageously in situations involving choosing between immediate vs. delayed reward or punishment. This is especially true in personal and social matters, a domain for which in life, as in the task, an exact calculation of the future outcomes is not possible and choices must often be based on approximations, hunches, and guesses (Bechara, Damasio et al., 2000)."

    "Both normal controls and VM patients generated SCRs after they had picked the card and were told that they won or lost money. The most important difference, however, was that normal controls, as they became experienced with the task, they began to generate SCRs prior to the selection of any cards, i.e., during the time when they were pondering from which deck to choose. These anticipatory SCRs were more pronounced before picking a card from the risky decks A and B, when compared to the safe decks C and D. VM patients entirely failed to generate any SCRs before picking a card (Fig. 3). These results provide strong support for the notion that decision-making is guided by emotional signals (or somatic states), which are generated in anticipation of future events."

    "Clinical interviews indicated that left VM patients were not severely impaired in real-life decisions, as reflected for instance by their ability to hold gainful employment, and their performance on the gambling task fell in the low normal range. By contrast, the right VM patients were severely impaired in real-life decisions, and their performance on the gambling task was as poor as VM patients with bilateral lesions (Fig. 4). These results suggest that the type of decision-making behavior measured by the gambling task may depend primarily on VM cortices in the right hemisphere"

    "One pertinent question in relation to this finding is why did the deficit follow right-sided, as opposed to left-sided lesions? One possible explanation relates to the lesion, electrophysiological and functional neuroimaging work linking the processing of approach behaviors and positive emotions to the left prefrontal cortex, and the processing of avoidance behaviors and negative emotions to the right prefrontal cortex (Davidson & Irwin, 1999; Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000). It is predicted from this work that hypo functioning left prefrontal cortices should be associated with insensitivity to ‘‘positive,’’ and perhaps increased sensitivity to ‘‘negative,’’ consequences. In contrast, hypo functioning right prefrontal cortices should be associated with insensitivity to ‘‘negative,’’ and perhaps increased sensi- tivity to ‘‘positive,’’ consequences."

    "There are three possible neural routes by which somatic signals expressed in the body can feedback to the brain and influence cognition. One is through the spinal cord, another is through the vagus nerve, and a third is an endocrine route."

    "The experiment [working memory/decision-making] revealed two intriguing findings. First, working memory is not dependent on the intactness of decision-making, i.e., subjects can have normal working memory in the presence or absence of deficits in decision-making. Some VM frontal patients who were severely impaired in decision-making (i.e., abnormal in the gambling task) had superior working memory (i.e., normal in the delay tasks). On the other hand, decision-making seems to be influenced by the intactness or impairment of working memory, i.e., decision-making is worse in the presence of abnormal working memory."

    "However, are decisions always associated with emotion and body states? The answer is ‘‘no’’ because somatic markers may influence decisions via a ‘‘body loop’’ or ‘‘as-if-loop.’"

    pboy, as a master of gambling, is right once again!
     
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