Have you ever noticed that folks get amnesia; it includes you and me,
when we have to say, the results are in, and I was wrong.
Neuroscientists go against type (Homo sapiens), and immediately publish
to the world when their research indicates they are on the wrong side
of the issue.
It does not matter how ancient and venerated the principle, these guys
find the biggest and baddest Journal and go public with the new findings faulting
their previous thinking.
It occurred recently for the treatment for ulcers, the two Australians got the Nobel. They were wrong about neurogenesis, growth of new brain cells, and neuroplasticity, changes in the function and structure of the brain.
Even the Federal Drug Administration admitted in 2007 some of their drug approvals were killing (heart attacks) the users.
For about three centuries the pro forma principle behind human decision-making, according to the international scientific community, was labeled cognitive, based on a reasoning Cost-Benefit-Analysis.
Philosophers and scientists agreed it separated us from other species, and played out in the advancements of western civilization. We think and act, and are not the puppets of our emotions and instincts.
Professors Antonio and Hanna Damasio, in the year 2,000, while at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, published an article called Emotion, Decision Making and
the Orbitofrontal cortex.
They opposed the iconic vision of Homo sapiens as the embodiment of logic, reason and analysis, by what they called the Somatic Market Hypothesis. It is a fancy name
for adding your right-brain emotions and feelings to your left-brain reasoning skills.
The Damasios go on to propose emotions are represented by changes in your body state. For the geniuses: specifically two areas in your brain; your somatosensory cortex and your orbitofrontal cortex.
First, emotions and instincts occur through your right brain, and are at a non-conscious level (no awareness).
Second, your mental imagery is deeply involved in decision-making. When you
are beset by negative images, you decide differently than when your mental movies
are positive and offer successful reinforcement. Remember, images precede your
feelings and emotions, and result in different behaviors. Think about it.
One more once. Your orbitofrontal cortex is the basis of your reasoning,
logic and lineal Cost-Benefit Analysis. But it is only one piece of the jigsaw
It is your Amygdala, located in the Limbic system of your brain,
and responsible for your emotions and feelings, plus your somatosensory/insula
cortices,and peripheral nervous system, that are the other critical
structures for decision making. It is left and right brain integration.
When you say humans are reasoning creatures, I think, therefore I am, (according to Decartes), you quote the science of yesterday. The Damasios were the first to focused on the relationship between emotion, decision making and working memory.
They feared not the wrath of the scientific establishment in contradicting
the undisputed knowledge of a up to three centuries of science. They chose to destroy the myth of human cognition as the core of our decision making, and became the first iconoclasts of the 21st century by adding emotions and feelings.
Your brain stores in its long term memory neuropathways (circuits), your emotional
experiences. Could it be that all your experiences with others are recorded by your
amygdala and hippocampus because you always involved with your feelings and emotions?
The law of Association indicates you automatically access similar prior experiences to compare to present (new) experiences. When you must make a decision, your brain goes into information mode and Googles your circuits for hints and triggers of both past successes and failures to guide it.
You use Association and Mental Visualizations, the language of your brain, for decision making. It combines the skills and structures of your left and right brains.
Your non-conscious mind retrieves associated experiences (knowledge) to overlay
new decision making. It comes by way of mental imagery, intuition and feelings.
Plain folks call it our Gut Instinct, auto pilot, and being in your Zone and in the Flow. The Damasios are scientists, so they call it Body-Loop and an As-If Body Loop. It means the body is bypassed and emotional signals are reactivated.
Right brain emotional decision-making is swift compared to waiting for a left brain Cost-Benefit Analysis. When you are playing tennis, golf or hitting a baseball, do you have time to use your cognitive left brain skills? Life aint got time for chess.
In many required decisions in your life, right brain intuition and instinct are the correct decision making strategies.
How do we know the Damasios are correct in rejecting three-centuries of
belief in humanity as the continuance of the Rodan version of the Thinker?
Answer: fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery illustrates the activation
of the amygdala and other non-cognitive brain structures.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Health. The references are
a mile wide and long. See: Neuroscience Abstract 23: 1318 and Nature 378: 279-229
as an introduction.
The Somatic Marker Hypothesis of the Damasios is online with other 21st century scientists who have added mood, attention, intention and emotions to human decision-making. After three hundred years, it is now considered obvious and unworthy of comment the Demasios are correct. Sure.
Speed reading was denied as physiologically impossible by university academics and vision specialists from its inception in the U.S. in 1959. Today, many American and international universities teach speed learning principles in independent courses. Evelyn Wood, a Salt Lake City schoolteacher, was its original advocate and populizer.
We suggest reading and remembering three books, articles and reports while your
peers can hardly finish one is a desirable competitive advance for students and
executives. It is our somatic market hypothesis after a half-century of scientific
copyright © 2007
H. Bernard Wechsler