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Unreliable gut feelings can lead to correct decisions: the somatic marker hypothesis in non-linear decision chains.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23087655     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Dual-process approaches of decision-making examine the interaction between affective/intuitive and deliberative processes underlying value judgment. From this perspective, decisions are supported by a combination of relatively explicit capabilities for abstract reasoning and relatively implicit evolved domain-general as well as learned domain-specific affective responses. One such approach, the somatic markers hypothesis (SMH), expresses these implicit processes as a system of evolved primary emotions supplemented by associations between affect and experience that accrue over lifetime, or somatic markers. In this view, somatic markers are useful only if their local capability to predict the value of an action is above a baseline equal to the predictive capability of the combined rational and primary emotional subsystems. We argue that decision-making has often been conceived of as a linear process: the effect of decision sequences is additive, local utility is cumulative, and there is no strong environmental feedback. This widespread assumption can have consequences for answering questions regarding the relative weight between the systems and their interaction within a cognitive architecture. We introduce a mathematical formalization of the SMH and study it in situations of dynamic, non-linear decision chains using a discrete-time stochastic model. We find, contrary to expectations, that decision-making events can interact non-additively with the environment in apparently paradoxical ways. We find that in non-lethal situations, primary emotions are represented globally over and above their local weight, showing a tendency for overcautiousness in situated decision chains. We also show that because they tend to counteract this trend, poorly attuned somatic markers that by themselves do not locally enhance decision-making, can still produce an overall positive effect. This result has developmental and evolutionary implications since, by promoting exploratory behavior, somatic markers would seem to be beneficial even at early stages when experiential attunement is poor. Although the model is formulated in terms of the SMH, the implications apply to dual systems theories in general since it makes minimal assumptions about the nature of the processes involved.
Manuel G Bedia; Ezequiel Di Paolo
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-10-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  Frontiers in psychology     Volume:  3     ISSN:  1664-1078     ISO Abbreviation:  Front Psychol     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-22     Completed Date:  2012-10-23     Revised Date:  2013-08-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101550902     Medline TA:  Front Psychol     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  384     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Computer Science, University of Zaragoza Zaragoza, Spain.
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