Chapter 12 Decision Making

  1. decision
    the choice made after considering different alternatives
  2. utilitarianism
    we should choose our actions based on what brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people
  3. felicific calculus
    • measuring pleasure or pain in terms of 
    • duration, intensity, propinquity, extent, certainty, purity, fecundity
  4. utility
    desirability or value of a given course of action
  5. expected utility
    • the predicted reward value of given option 
    • models typically describe behaviours that would be expected of an idealised human being who makes perfectly rational choices to maximise utility
  6. irrationality
    we have relative rather than absolute preferences
  7. uncertainty
    • inconsistent because of the uncertainty of outcome 
    • risk aversion - smaller certain over larger uncertain 
    • risk seeking - larger uncertain over smaller certain
  8. framing effect
    individuals choose options based on how they're framed and thus choose inconsistently
  9. endowment effect
    people assign more value to a given item if they own the item and a lower value to the same item if they do not own it
  10. value over time
    • we assign disproportionally high values to immediate rewards and disproportionately low value to delayed rewards 
    • marshmallow test
    • delay discounting makes it easy for us to neglect long term consequences
  11. irrational decisions can be adaptiv
    animals make irrational decisions too
  12. attribution effect
    we focus on other people's internal characteristics (like personality) to explain their behaviour, but we focus on external situations (e.g. a hard day) to explain our behaviour
  13. why do we make irrational decisions? Dual systems model
    our brain contains two systems for decision making, one is evolutionarily older (well adapted for survival in the wild, less relevant now) and one is more recent
  14. intuitive system
    unconscious implicit processes info in parallel, high capacity, reaches conclusions rapidly but can be hard to explain why those conclusions were reached
  15. rational system
    conscious, explicit, deliberate to a logical conclusion, processes info sequentially, low capacity, reaches conclusions slowly
  16. delay discounting
    make sensible decisions between two rewards when they are both in the remote future, but are impulsive when comparing rearward now to a reward later
  17. dual system model predicts that
    • 1. newer rational system should be active for decisions on future rewards
    • 2. the older, intuitive system should be active for decisions that involve immediate rewards
  18. delayed discounting in the brain
    • lateral frontal and parietal regions involved in rational system (regions active regardless of delay)
    • medial limbic regions involved in intuitive system )regions more active when there is no delay between choices and reward)

    **correlation isn't causation, inhibiting makes more likely doesn't say will
  19. delay discounting continued
    • sometimes lateral areas more active, sometimes medial more active
    • interconnected regions working together as part of decision-making circuit and their relative activity might influence what decisions we make
  20. decisions under risk
    we make decisions depending on if we stand to gain or lose from the risk (are we going to gain or lose money)
  21. decisions under risk and the brain
    • risk seeking and reward value: central striatum, ventromedial PFC
    • loss aversion and aversive stimuli: insula and amygdala
  22. framing effect and the amygdala
    • responds differently to gain and loss frames its relative activity flips for gambles vs sure bets 
    • not all people equally susceptible to framing effects, activity in vmPFC predicts resistance to the framing effect
  23. subjective value
    • the value of a given option to a given individual in a particular context 
    • can examine subjective value using the axiom of revealed preferences
  24. subjective value in the brain
    • brain activity that tracks subjective value includes regions involved in assessing reward (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate gyrus, ventral striatum, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate gyrus)
    • some people are impulsive, others are patient
  25. OFC convergence zone
    • across species, orbitofrontal cortex seems to be a key brain area for representing subjective value
    • convergence zone for assembling information about external stimuli internal states, current goals, and behaviours
  26. healthy eating
    • in people with high impulse control, dlPFC might inhibit the vmPFC response to enjoyable but unhealthy food 
    • vmOFC activity tracks subjective reward value of food
  27. externally guided decisions
    tend to depend on sensory areas and lateral prefrontal cortices
  28. internally guided decisions
    • some decisions factor in our priorities, needs, drives, past experiences 
    • tend to depend on ventral and medial prefrontal cortex
  29. modulators of decision making
    having multiple decision-making systems is adaptive because we can switch between them depending on our needs in the moment
  30. what are the types of multiple systems
    • 1. clear cut external signals available - lateral prefrontal areas 
    • 2. no external cues, need to consider past experiences - medial prefrontal/orbitofrontal cortex and ventral striatum
    • 3. obvious threat - amygdala
  31. the trolley problem
    • internally cued moral decision making - medial brain areas recruited for internally guided decisions
    • rule-based or externally cued moral decision making - lateral brain areas recruited for externally guided decisions

    switching between strategies is associated with activity in the lateral frontopolar cortex
  32. using different systems
    • different strategies are available when gambling, maximise potential gain, minimise potential loss, or maximise the probability of winning at least some money (no matter the amount) 
    • vlPFC and dmPFC involved in switching between strategies
  33. different strategies
    • mathematical strategy: maximise chances of winning (posterior parietal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex)
    • loss avoiding strategy: minimise size of potential losses (anterior insula)
    • reward seeking strategy: maximise size of possible rewards (ventromedial prefrontal cortex)
  34. neurotransmitter systems
    • individual differences in decision making strategies (e.g. how susceptible different people are to framing effects) 
    • people with long allele form of serotonin transporter gene show more interactions between amygdala and dmPFC and are better able to resist framing effects
  35. switch between different decision-making systems (NT)
    • neurons have to be persuaded to change their pattern of activity 
    • accomplished by neurotransmitter including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and more

    this is why drugs affect decision making because they affect NT systems involved in decision making
  36. dextroamphetamine
    • dopamine agonist, stimulates the release of dopamine in the synaptic terminals
    • used for ADHD 
    • increasing dopamine leads to increased than decreased impulsivity
Card Set
Chapter 12 Decision Making