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Subconscious Brain Processes Improve Decision Making

February 17, 2013, 1:00 PM
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What's the Latest Development?

A new scientific study suggests that getting distracted mid-thought helps us to make better decisions later on. Conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, the study found that people made better decisions about buying new cars after they had been distracted by an unrelated task. "But did this effect occur because the distraction period provided an opportunity for the brain to take a break from decision-making and then return to the problem with a fresh look? Or alternatively, does the brain continue to unconsciously process decision information during this distraction period?"

What's the Big Idea?

By creating images of the participants' brains during the study, researchers concluded that the brain subconsciously processes information, helping us to make better decisions. "When the participants were initially learning information about the cars and other items, the neuroimaging results showed activation in the visual and prefrontal cortices, regions that are known to be responsible for learning and decision-making. Additionally, during the distractor task, both the visual and prefrontal cortices continued to be active—or reactivated—even though the brain was consciously focused on number memorization."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Kurzweil AI

 

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