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The Neuroscience of Decision Making: The Importance of Emotional Neural Circuits in Decision Making
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The neuroscience of decision making is laying the puzzle of how the brain computes decisions. It tries to sort out which factors are responsible for causing us to choose one way or the other. This thesis reviews to what extent emotional brain processes and their neural circuits impact decision making. The somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) provides a solid dual-system framework for decision making. Dissociating an impulsive system, in which the amygdala is central, and a reflective system mediated by the ventromedial prefrontal cortex(VMPFC). The SMH emphasizes the function of the VMPFC as necessary and crucial formaking favorable long-term decisions. Research on moral decision making also shows that similar systems as used by the SMH has a key role in how we think about moral dilemmas as well. Damage or maldevelopment of these neural circuits can cause myopia for the future and deeply immoral behavior. Abnormalities in emotional neuronal circuits can also be linked to addictive behavior and psychopathy. The findings on decision making and its neuralsubstrates dismantle the common sense notion of free will and moral responsibility. An explanation of how the feeling of free will arises is given using the Interpreter system theoryof consciousness. Moral responsibility without the need for a free will is defended by analternative approach with a framework of a brain in-control versus out-of-control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 51
Keywords [en]
neuroscience, somatic marker hypothesis, decision making, free will, moral responsibility
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16033OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16033DiVA, id: diva2:1236770
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Consciousness Studies - Philosophy and Neuropsychology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-06 Created: 2018-08-05 Last updated: 2018-08-21Bibliographically approved

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