Research Topic

Decision Making from the Perspective of Neural Thermodynamics and Molecular Information Processing

About this Research Topic

It has long been thought that classical physics automatically apply to biology, especially the brain and specifically the neural circuits. It was recently shown that the thermodynamics of emotions can explain the psychological and health consequences of positive and negative emotional states based on their energy profiles; positive emotional states are represented by the reversed Carnot cycle, whereas negative emotional reactions trigger the Carnot cycle. The contrasting energetic and entropic aftereffects have its consequences for mental energy and might have profound implications in decision making and free will. On the other hand, the molecular mechanisms by which thermodynamic cost and information processing concomitantly relate to decision making are not explored.

This Research Topic calls for study protocols, thought experiments and synthetic reviews as a basis for future studies exploring the potential of neuroscience for prediction or anticipation of human agent's decision making under different physiological and pathological situations (e.g. marriage, simulated riding, surgery, shopping, addictions, cancers, brain tumors, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, etc.). It is expected that submitted manuscripts will help novel technical and methodological developments.

This Research Topic would like to welcome articles focusing on but not limited to the following topics:

·      Questionnaire studies: A broad range including cross-sectional to explorative longitudinal questionnaire studies linking patterns of neurotransmitters, brain energetics/thermodynamics and measures of information processing to decision making.

·      Brain imaging techniques: Studies linking/exploring decision making from the perspective of different brain imaging techniques.

·      Simulation models and games: Studies exploring and comparing the

(i) patterns of neurotransmitters,

(ii) energetic/thermodynamic cost or

(iii) measures of information processing with likelihood of right answers or right decisions in simulated situations (such as Scavenger hunts, Letterboxing, Geocaching, etc.).

·      Comparative studies: studies comparing patterns of decision making in relation to patterns of neurotransmitters, brain energetics/thermodynamics and measures of information processing in different subjects and/or situations. For example, comparison of pattern of decision making for quitting smoking in healthy people with that of subject with suicidal behavior in relation to the topic of interest.


Keywords: Decision making, thermodynamics, information processing, neural circuit, molecular mechanism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

It has long been thought that classical physics automatically apply to biology, especially the brain and specifically the neural circuits. It was recently shown that the thermodynamics of emotions can explain the psychological and health consequences of positive and negative emotional states based on their energy profiles; positive emotional states are represented by the reversed Carnot cycle, whereas negative emotional reactions trigger the Carnot cycle. The contrasting energetic and entropic aftereffects have its consequences for mental energy and might have profound implications in decision making and free will. On the other hand, the molecular mechanisms by which thermodynamic cost and information processing concomitantly relate to decision making are not explored.

This Research Topic calls for study protocols, thought experiments and synthetic reviews as a basis for future studies exploring the potential of neuroscience for prediction or anticipation of human agent's decision making under different physiological and pathological situations (e.g. marriage, simulated riding, surgery, shopping, addictions, cancers, brain tumors, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, etc.). It is expected that submitted manuscripts will help novel technical and methodological developments.

This Research Topic would like to welcome articles focusing on but not limited to the following topics:

·      Questionnaire studies: A broad range including cross-sectional to explorative longitudinal questionnaire studies linking patterns of neurotransmitters, brain energetics/thermodynamics and measures of information processing to decision making.

·      Brain imaging techniques: Studies linking/exploring decision making from the perspective of different brain imaging techniques.

·      Simulation models and games: Studies exploring and comparing the

(i) patterns of neurotransmitters,

(ii) energetic/thermodynamic cost or

(iii) measures of information processing with likelihood of right answers or right decisions in simulated situations (such as Scavenger hunts, Letterboxing, Geocaching, etc.).

·      Comparative studies: studies comparing patterns of decision making in relation to patterns of neurotransmitters, brain energetics/thermodynamics and measures of information processing in different subjects and/or situations. For example, comparison of pattern of decision making for quitting smoking in healthy people with that of subject with suicidal behavior in relation to the topic of interest.


Keywords: Decision making, thermodynamics, information processing, neural circuit, molecular mechanism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

05 September 2021 Abstract
02 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

05 September 2021 Abstract
02 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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