Child in hedge maze

How We Decide

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Understanding how we decide will help us make better decisions.

Whether we are deciding which direction to move our eyes or which career path to pursue, decision-making makes up a large part of our everyday lives. Although we may be unaware of it, our brains are constantly weighing possible options and predicting pontential outcomes as we navigate through the complex world around us.  

 

Yet, we are far from 'rational' decision-makers. When an option is risky, we tend to avoid it. When we choose poorly, it impacts how we perceive future outcomes. When we are uncertain, our social nature inclines us to follow the actions of others. If humans share these biases, do animals share them too? 

 

Decision making has an evolutionary history. Animals, like humans, must make complex decisions in order to achievebiological success. From deciding the lushestpatch in which to forage to navigating rich social networks for the best mate, monkeys are dynamic social decision makers.

Understanding the brain systems and ciruits that motivate decisions in nonhuman animals helps us better understand how our own brains make good decisions - or bad ones - and how to make better decisions in the future.  

Principle Investigator Professor Platt speaks about decision making in the brain.

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