Why You're Such an Indecisive Screwball

Illustration for article titled Why You're Such an Indecisive Screwball

You know how there are those people who just know what they want? And then they take it? And then they're happy with their choices!?!!?!??? Yeah, those people are like aliens to me. I'm forever in this weird space of simultaneously wanting all of the stuff and wanting none of the stuff. And then people are like, "Just pick one piece of stuff already!" And I'm like:


And then later, after I make my choice, I'm like:

(Not always, of course, but for the purposes of this post, ALWAYS.)

Turns out, some people are just more confident in their decision-making, and subsequently more comfortable their decisions. You can see it. Right there in their brains:

The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure activity in the brains of twenty hungry volunteers while they made choices between food items that they would later eat. To determine the subjective value of the snack options, the participants were asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay for each snack. Then after making their choice, they were asked to report how confident they were that they had made the right decision and selected the best snack.

It has previously been shown that a region at the front of the brain, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, is important for working out the value of decision options. The new findings reveal that the level of activity in this area is also linked to the level of confidence participants placed on choosing the best option. The study also shows that the interaction between this area of the brain and an adjacent area reflects participants' ability to access and report their level of confidence in their choices.

Good to know. To illustrate, here's an MRI of my brain interacting with itself:


Brain study shows why some people are more in tune with what they want [Eurekalert]

Photo credit: yuri_arcurs / Stockfresh.




I wonder if this correlates at all with trying new things. I'm super-decisive, but I also tend to pick the same types of things over and over again (because I know I liked that dish in the past!, or whatever). My girlfriend teases me that I'm too predictable. Maybe, but I also don't spend an hour looking at a menu.