Research Topic

Decision-Making Experiments under a Philosophical Analysis: Human Choice as a Challenge for Neuroscience.

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Decision-Making is an intricate subject in neuroscience. From the readiness-potential discovery to the somatic marker hypothesis a great deal of controversy was established in neuroscience. Recently, tremendous advances were promoted in different areas ranging from modulatory neurotransmitters to functional ...

Decision-Making is an intricate subject in neuroscience. From the readiness-potential discovery to the somatic marker hypothesis a great deal of controversy was established in neuroscience. Recently, tremendous advances were promoted in different areas ranging from modulatory neurotransmitters to functional imaging, from neuroeconomics to neuroethics.

Whereas the great majority of philosophers neglect the physiological features that constitute the main aspects of decision-making as a brain process, most of neuroscientists and empirical psychologists neglect, by their turns, a more detailed analysis of epistemological and ethical presuppositions and implications of empirical research. It is often argued that laboratorial research is not capable of dealing with the necessary complexity to study the issue. Nevertheless, cutting-edge neuroscientific experiments can offer us at least a framework to explain human behavior in its relationship with will, self-control, inhibition, emotion and reasoning, as far as it is studied considering its ecological relevance, scope limitations, presuppositions and implications.

The distinction between veridical and adaptive decision-making can offer us a leap forward in our way to understand the issue. Veridical decision-making presupposes the idea that of one of the answers is the only correct, and often we deal with this type of process. Although, great part of our choice is adaptive and don't have a unique transpersonal correct answer. Adaptive decision-making is particularly dependent on the prefrontal lobes, differently from veridical decision-making. The ecological relevance of experiments dealing with adaptive decision-making is superior than of those dealing with veridical decision-making.

Thus, in this topic, we exhort contributions that deeply analyze neuroscientific experiments in both technical and philosophical ways aiming a broader understanding of the relevance, scope and limitations of decision-making experiments. Moreover, we encourage epistemological reflections about the necessary neural mechanisms to decision-making. This topic could be oriented by the following questions:

1) Which are the laboratorial limits for testability in decision-making experiments?

2) Could we ever test decision-making perfectly mimicking the costs and values of our day-by-day real contexts?

3) Is top-down control always involved in decision-making?

4) Do we have free will? To what extent we have room for choice, if any?


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