vii) Neuroscience and Decision-making (see earlier for more detail on Neuroscience)


. How does quick thinking avert a disaster?

It happens when the cortex overrides maladaptive responses, such as panic. People who reason well under stress have a high prefrontal function. This means that the neurons in the prefrontal areas will activate in response to a stimulus and keep on firing for several seconds. This constant firing allows for fresh thoughts.

"...Once this overlapping of ideas occurs, cortical cells start to form connections that have never existed before, wiring themselves into entirely new networks..."

Johan Lehrer has quoted by Peter Kramer, 2009

Then the prefrontal cortex evaluates the insight and recognizes it as a solution to the problem. The process results in the transformation of the old learning into a creative response to the crisis at hand.

. Other comments include

- "Choking" can occur when there is too much reasoning, eg athletes at sporting events

- "Framing" in which our expectation causes an error of judgment attributable to the prefrontal cortex that is working over-time us, eg a tendency to remain loyal to bad choice and to see patterns when none exist

- "Intuition or gut feeling" where experience overrides thought patterns

(source: Peter Kramer, 2009)


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