Why Does It Take So Long To Make Decisions? (Neuroscience)

Thinking is a surprisingly slow process because our brain cannot make multiple decisions about the same object at once, Columbia neuroscientists have found. New experiments probe how we make decisions

Every thought involves multiple decisions. How does the brain juggle those decisions while accumulating evidence about the world?

For the past decade, Professor Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD, has been exploring this question. Described in the video below, new experiments that showed volunteers colorful dots moving on a screen have yielded some answers—and revealed a bottleneck in the decision-making process.

The work was carried out by Yul Kang, now a research associate at the University of Cambridge; Postdoctoral Fellow Anne Löffler, PhD, in the laboratory of Daniel Wolpert, PhD; Postdoctoral Researcher Danique Jeurissen, PhD, in the Shadlen lab; and Assistant Professor Ariel Zylberberg, PhD, at the University of Rochester. It appears in the journal eLife.

Featured image: Michael N. Shadlen, MD, PhD © Zuckerman Institute

Provided by Zuckerman Institute Columbia

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