5. How do we make decisions?
Each day we are faced with hundreds of decisions which can range from the trivial—what do I eat—to the life-changing—whom should I marry. According to a 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, our decisions are the outcome of two separate brain systems: cognitive control and the valuation network.
While the valuation network supplies the brain with information about the value of each choice, it is cognitive control which keeps the overall goal in focus, preventing the brain from being overwhelmed with information. Like all good scientific problems, answering the question of decision making raises new questions in the process.
If our lives are the sum of our choices and our choices a balance between value and cognition, do we really have free choice? What role does the unconscious play, if at all?