Our Brain and Its Mysteries: How Do We Decide That Something is Worth Doing


Ever wonder how we decide or judge that something is worth our time and effort? Researchers have been asking the same question primarily because of the fact that the unwillingness to do tasks or achieve goals is one of the major symptoms of mental disorder.

Exploring the factors that influences our decision-making process can provide some useful information that can potentially unlock the secret of helping those with mental disorder.

In an article, University of Oxford stated that a team of researchers conducted a study that was supported by Wellcome Trust and European Research. The study aims to find out the if there's a specific area or part of the brain that's involved in deciding whether we are going to exert some physical effort to finish a task.

The study titled Selective Alteration of Human Value Decisions with Medial Frontal tDCS is Predicted by Changes in Attractor Dynamics contains results gathered from volunteers who participated in the research. Dr. Miriam Klein-Flugge, one of the researchers, stated that the volunteers were placed inside an MRI scanner while they were making a choice that involves different levels of "monetary reward and physical effort."

According to Dr. Miriam Klein-Flugge, the results were "unsurprising" as most volunteers chose "higher reward with low effort required." The team then explored which particular regions of the brain are involved in the decision-making process.

Activities were discovered in the following areas: supplementary motor area (SMA), dorsal anterior congulate cortex (dACC) and putamen. In assessing the rewards that we are going to receive, the ventromedial prefontal cortex also has some pattern of activities together with SMA and the putamen.

Dr. Miriam Klein-Flugge added that the research can be beneficial to other studies as well. It has proven that the brain has several systems in place that kicks in when it is time to decide whether exerting effort on a specific task is worth the reward that we will get in the end.

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