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Decision making under uncertainty

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194667 Year: Pages: 143 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-466-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Abstract

Most decisions in life are based on incomplete information and have uncertain consequences. To successfully cope with real-life situations, the nervous system has to estimate, represent and eventually resolve uncertainty at various levels. A common tradeoff in such decisions involves those between the magnitude of the expected rewards and the uncertainty of obtaining the rewards. For instance, a decision maker may choose to forgo the high expected rewards of investing in the stock market and settle instead for the lower expected reward and much less uncertainty of a savings account. Little is known about how different forms of uncertainty, such as risk or ambiguity, are processed and learned about and how they are integrated with expected rewards and individual preferences throughout the decision making process. With this Research Topic we aim to provide a deeper and more detailed understanding of the processes behind decision making under uncertainty.

Toward a Unified View of the Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off: Behaviour, Neurophysiology and Modelling

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197569 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-756-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Everyone is familiar with the speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT). To make good choices, we need to balance the conflicting demands of fast and accurate decision making. After all, hasty decisions often lead to poor choices, but accurate decisions may be useless if they take too long. This notion is intuitive because it reflects a fundamental aspect of cognition: not only do we deliberate over the evidence for decisions, but we can control that deliberative process. This control raises many questions for the study of choice behaviour and executive function. For example, how do we figure out the appropriate balance between speed and accuracy on a given task? How do we impose that balance on our decisions, and what is its neural basis? Researchers have addressed these and related questions for decades, using a variety of methods and offering answers at different levels of abstraction. Given this diverse methodology, our aim is to provide a unified view of the SAT. Extensive analysis of choice behaviour suggests that we make decisions by accumulating evidence until some criterion is reached. Thus, adjusting the criterion controls how long we accumulate evidence and therefore the speed and accuracy of decisions. This simple framework provides the platform for our unified view. In the pages that follow, leading experts in decision neuroscience consider the history of SAT research, strategies for determining the optimal balance between speed and accuracy, conditions under which this seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon breaks down, and the neural mechanisms that may implement the computations of our unifying framework.

Decision-Making Experiments under Philosophical Analysis: Human Choice as a Challenge for Neuroscience

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196685 Year: Pages: 123 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-668-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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This introduction just aims to be a fast foreword to the special topic now turned into an e-book. The Editorial "Decision-Making Experiments under a Philosophical Analysis: Human Choice as a Challenge for Neuroscience" alongside with my opinion article "Neurophilosophical considerations on decision making: Pushing-up the frontiers without disregarding their foundations" play the real role of considering in more details the articles and the whole purpose of this e-book. What I must highlight in this foreword is that our intention with such a project was to deepen into the very foundations of our current paradigms in decision neuroscience and to philosophically moot its foundations and repercussions. Normal Science (a term coined by Philosopher Thomas Kuhn) works under a research consensus among a scientific community: A shared paradigm, consolidated methods, widespread convictions. Pragmatically, winning formulas must be kept, although, not at any cost. What differentiates a gifted and revolutionary scientist from a more bureaucratic colleague is the capacity and willingness of constantly reevaluating, depurating and refining his/her own paradigm. That is best strategy to avoid that a paradigm itself would gradually come under challenge. In my view, some achievements, in this sense, were brought about in our project. The e-book will be inspiring and informative for both neuroscientists that are concerned with the very foundations of their works and for philosophers that are not blind to empirical evidence. Kant once said: “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”. Paraphrasing Kant we could say: Philosophy without science is empty, science without philosophy is blind.

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