What’s going on in there when you decide? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com
Decisions span a vast range of complexity. There are really simple ones: Do I want an apple or a piece of cake with my lunch? Then there are much more complicated ones: Which car should I buy, or which career should I choose?
Neuroscientists like me have identified some of the individual parts of the brain that contribute to making decisions like these. Different areas process sounds, sights or pertinent prior knowledge. But understanding how these individual players work together as a team is still a challenge, not only in understanding decision-making, but for the whole field of neuroscience.
Part of the reason is that until now, neuroscience has operated in a traditional science research model: Individual labs work on their own, usually focusing on one or a few brain areas. That makes it challenging for any researcher to interpret data collected by another lab, because we all have slight differences in how we run experiments.