Decide – Apples or oranges?

by | Apr 10, 2014 | General Information | 0 comments

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Everyday we come across hundreds of circumstances where the situation demands us to choose one of any two. In some cases, such as whether or not you have to eat that decadent chocolate cup cake, it doesn’t involve much of squeezing your gray cells. You just ponder over it a minute, and finally choose to eat( Yes, this applies to all!). But in other supreme and career-changing type situations, your brain goes into a miserable and hopeless state infamously known as ‘dilemma’.

People always say ‘Do what your heart says’. But that line has no logicality. The only function your aortic pump can do without any mistake(most of the times) is contract atrium, squeeze in blood, and contract your ventricles. And it does this every day, every second without showing fatigue. Nonetheless, the decisions that you take everyday has nothing to with your heart.

It’s all taking place in that 1.4 kilogram of squishy yet massive glob of yours. Every thought, fear, worry, languish, misery, joy, anger, elation, and every decision that you have ever made till now has been a consequence of your brain. How does it all magically work though? A recent study suggests that our brain much like a see-saw, goes back and forth between the two factors- risk versus reward.


“Cognitive control and value-based decision-making tasks appear to depend on different brain regions within the frontal cortex,” says Jan Glascher, a professor at Caltech university. Let me clarify that with a very lively day-to-day example. You go to a grocery store, and there your valuation network is always providing you with information about what’s rewarding around you — the things you want to buy — but also lots of distracting things like junk food and other items popping into your vision off the shelves. In such situations, cognitive control is what keeps you on hold. Whatever distractions the situation throws at you, you need to keep your goal fixed in mind, march out to the checkout counter and be done with it.

But this is not case with people having psychotic disorder. Depressed and miserable people find it much strenuous to come to a decision cause nothing seems anticipating to them. Everything appears equally bleak and renders decision making impossible. Any medical fact is baseless without a survey. And sure enough, the researchers conducted a survey on 350 patients affected with lesions in specific places. Whilst this was happening, neurologists from university of Iowa combined the study of more than 30 years. The researchers found that damage to a region known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) appears to profoundly affect cognitive control. The study suggests that the dlPFC forms a network with the anterior cingulate cortex, together keeping focus, switching it when appropriate to the task, and looking for erroneous choices in order to correct them.

Yeah, I know that was a  verbiage of words. To make it simple and understandable, the researchers mean that, damage to dIPFC will refrain you to switch from one category to another.

To make it more coherent,



Say out loud the name of the ‘COLOR’ of each word, and not the word itself.

It’s quite troublesome,isn’t it? But if you find it entirely impossible, then i would suggest you go to a doctor.

There are totally two prominent networks bearing all these decision making chaos. The cognitive control and the valuation. If either of them go offline, impulsive behaviour gets stronger. They both need to attain a perfect reinforcing balance for your brain to function, properly.

Having a strong grip of this concept will help doctors aid psychiatric patients and simultaneously help cognitively healthy folks who constantly deal with onslaught of distractions that typifies our modern life.

Or you could you know, solve it all with a magic 8 ball. It’s totally your decision!

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