Have you ever wondered from where do our thoughts and feelings come? I’m currently reading Incognito by David Eagleman and in the first half of this book I got the idea that somehow our conscious self is the last one to know about… everything. The underlying processes decide everything and we are informed about those decisions (ok, it’s still we the ones deciding, but not the conscious part).
There were some studies made about this idea and the researchers scanned the brain of some subjects whilst asking them different things or giving them different tasks. The subjects where asked to do something when they want to and it seems that there was some intense brain activity seconds before the subjects said they started to feel the need or desire to do something (something like lifting a finger).
Apparently, we feel the need to do things and after that we rationalize the decisions we made, but those reasons are not always the real ones. The decision has been made prior that by our unconscious self and then the conscious self is informed by that decision and the conscious self tries to find some reasons to justify the decision. I guess it’s a way to get a feeling of control.
Another very interesting idea is that our brain chemistry is affecting our decision making process. It seems that people make different decisions based on how their brain is wired. For example, some people harmed others because they couldn’t control themselves. After their brains were analyzed, it turned out that different tumors in different parts of the brain explains the behavior. Some of them even had a journal where they stated they couldn’t explain why they felt the urge to harm others. It seems that a brain tumor can make the difference between a regular person and a mass murderer.
It’s a very interesting topic and this book brings some very interesting insights. Our unconscious self might have a bigger role in our decision making than I’ve thought. I’m looking forward to see what else is there.
What do you think about this? Is our conscious part deciding our life or the decisions are already made and our conscious part is just informed about that and it tries to make some sense out of it?