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Our unconscious brain makes the best decisions possible
Science Codex ^ | December 24, 2008

Posted on 12/24/2008 11:44:05 AM PST by CE2949BB

Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that the human brain—once thought to be a seriously flawed decision maker—is actually hard-wired to allow us to make the best decisions possible with the information we are given. The findings are published in today's issue of the journal Neuron.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencecodex.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Science
KEYWORDS: brain

1 posted on 12/24/2008 11:44:06 AM PST by CE2949BB
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To: CE2949BB

2 posted on 12/24/2008 11:46:11 AM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: CE2949BB

I rarely dream, but when I do, it is almost always a problem solving dream.

And very often the solution is a good one.


3 posted on 12/24/2008 11:49:07 AM PST by airborne (God answers all prayers. Just some times the answer is "no".)
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To: CE2949BB

Drunk and passed out....OK, where are those car keys? I know how to get there!


4 posted on 12/24/2008 11:49:39 AM PST by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: CE2949BB

Not possible, otherwise Zero would not have been elected.


5 posted on 12/24/2008 11:49:48 AM PST by elpinta (Insured by Walther, Glock, Smith & Wesson.)
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To: CE2949BB

The unconscious makes all decisions and we merely go along for the ride.


6 posted on 12/24/2008 11:51:16 AM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: elpinta
Snip: "Neuroscientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky received a 2002 Nobel Prize for their 1979 research that argued humans rarely make rational decisions."

That's why Minus Zero got elected!

7 posted on 12/24/2008 11:56:47 AM PST by Revolting cat!
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To: CE2949BB

Restrict Political Campaigns to only the one day before the election. You can “sleep on it” and then make the right decision.


8 posted on 12/24/2008 12:05:46 PM PST by smokingfrog (I'll go green when they plant me in the ground.)
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To: CE2949BB

I believe this. I come up with alot of solutions to problems when I’m half asleep.


9 posted on 12/24/2008 12:59:00 PM PST by autumnraine
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To: TRY ONE

If your conscience brain is drunk, your subconscience is drunk too. ;o)


10 posted on 12/24/2008 1:00:26 PM PST by autumnraine
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To: CE2949BB
That explains why so people bought house they couldn't pay for. Their unconscious brain was saying,
“Dude, you can flip this this shack and double your money”, while the conscious brain was saying,
“You earn $300 a week and the mortgage is $3000 a month....ARE YOU INSANE!!!!!!”

They were unconscious when they signed the contract!

11 posted on 12/24/2008 1:09:29 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: SIDENET

Come on! They said unconscious, not brain dead.


12 posted on 12/24/2008 1:10:45 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: elpinta
....with the information we are given.

See: MSM.

;-)

13 posted on 12/24/2008 1:15:18 PM PST by fanfan (Update on Constitutional Crisis in Canada.....Click user name)
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To: CE2949BB
Complex decision? Don't sleep on it

Neither snap judgements nor sleeping on a problem are any better than conscious thinking for making complex decisions, according to new research.

The finding debunks a controversial 2006 research result asserting that unconscious thought is superior for complex decisions, such as buying a house or car. If anything, the new study suggests that conscious thought leads to better choices.

Since its publication two years ago by a Dutch research team in the journal Science, the earlier finding had been used to encourage decision-makers to make "snap" decisions (for example, in the best-selling book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell) or to leave complex choices to the powers of unconscious thought ("Sleep on it", Dijksterhuis et al., Science, 2006).

But in the new study, to be published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, scientists ran four experiments in which participants were presented with complex decisions and asked to choose the best option immediately ("blink"), after a period of conscious deliberation ("think"), or after a period of distraction ("sleep on it"), which is claimed to encourage "unconscious thought processes".

In all experiments, there was some evidence that conscious deliberation can lead to better choices and little evidence for superiority of choices made "unconsciously". Faced with making decisions such as choosing a rental apartment and buying a car, most participants made choices predicted by their subjective preferences for certain attributes (for example, safety, security, colour or price), regardless of the mode of thinking employed.

Unconscious thought is claimed to be an active process during which information is organized, weighted, and integrated in an optimal fashion. Its benefits are argued to be strongest when a decision is complex - one with multiple options and attributes - because unconscious thought does not suffer from the capacity limitations that hobble conscious thought.

"Claims that we can make superior 'snap' decisions by trusting intuition or through the 'power' of unconscious thought have received a great deal of attention in the media," says University of New South Wales psychologist, Dr Ben Newell, lead author of the new study.

Among the headlines that followed the 2006 research are these: "Dilemma? Don't give it a thought," The Times, 17-02-06; "Trust your gut instinct when those shopping decisions get tough, say scientists," The Telegraph, UK, 17-02-06; "Big decision time? Best to sleep on it," Reuters News, 16-02-06.

"At best, these sorts of headlines are misleading," says Dr Newell. "At worst, they're outright dangerous. In stark contrast to claims made by the Dutch research team and in the media, we found very little evidence of the superiority of unconscious thought for complex decisions.

"On the contrary, our research suggests that unconscious thought is more susceptible to irrelevant factors, such as how recently information has been seen rather than how important it is. If conscious thinkers are given adequate time to encode material, or are allowed to consult material while they deliberate, their choices are at least as good as those made 'unconsciously'."

14 posted on 12/24/2008 1:16:41 PM PST by mjp (Live & let live. I don't want to live in Mexico, Marxico, or Muslimico. Statism & high taxes suck)
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To: elpinta
Please re-read the article more carefully.

It said "...from the information given."

This is why the MSM was so anxious to castigate Sarah Palin and to protect Biden and the Obamessiah.

Cheers!

...oh, and Merry Christmas!

15 posted on 12/25/2008 11:27:49 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: RightWhale
Oops, I was about to ping you to your OWN COMMENT.

Glad I took a second look before doing so.

Cheers!

16 posted on 12/25/2008 11:29:37 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: CE2949BB

bookmark for later research...


17 posted on 12/25/2008 11:38:49 PM PST by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: grey_whiskers
I was about to ping you to your OWN COMMENT

Pretty much describes how we become aware of our own decisions. 'You have decided to light another cigarette, consider this your notification.'

18 posted on 12/26/2008 10:42:30 AM PST by RightWhale (We were so young two years ago and the DJIA was 12,000)
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To: CE2949BB; fanfan
Probabilistic Population Codes for Bayesian Decision Making

link to the abstract

19 posted on 12/26/2008 10:28:31 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: mjp
I'm sorry, but Newell is just plain wrong. I've been in the business of designing stuff for forty years, and some of the best design ideas I've come up with have come directly from "sleeping on it". Things that just "pop into your head" seemingly out of nowhere, completely un-related to what you might have been consciously thinking about at the time.

Of course, anybody who actually IMPLEMENTS something without running it through a thorough examination of conscious thought is an idiot, but the absolute best approach is when the conscious and subconscious work in tandem. In my case, the subconscious is my "engine of innovation", and my conscious is the "trust but verify" engine.

20 posted on 12/27/2008 5:17:44 AM PST by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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To: Wonder Warthog

Years ago, I would take the day off and go skiing by my self. On several occasions while riding the lift, in the quiet woodland solitude, a solution to a major problem would come to mind.

Now days, I design things to be made from silver. The design comes at night, to be put to paper and cleaned up the next day


21 posted on 12/27/2008 5:40:52 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Save America......... put out lots of wafarin (it's working))
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