Graduation Paper

Graduation Paper - 8237169 1 8237169 Graduation Project...

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8237169 Graduation Project Research Paper March 22 nd , 2011 Rational and Irrational Decision Making Have you ever considered the decisions that you make to be irrational? Most people believe they make rational decisions; however, in most cases people’s decisions are often irrational. Decision making can be a long, complicated, well thought-out process or simply an unconscious choice that you make in an instant. There is a widespread scope of decision making, from deciding whether or not to buy a car to deciding on which side of the sink to place your tooth brush. People convince themselves that they make rational, well planned decisions; nevertheless, the majority of choices people make are completely irrational and have little or no benefit. People must be enlightened about the illogical decisions they make and understand how to prevent and overcome making such decisions, in order to live more productive and successful lives. The brain plays a very important role in terms of decision making. According to Michael Frank, a neuroscientist on a National Public Radio broadcast, even trivial decisions require complex brain mechanisms. Furthermore, Frank and his colleagues discovered that people who had a certain gene variation in their DNA were more likely to make choices that had uncertain outcomes (such as purchasing a product that one may be skeptical about) than those who did not. Along with gene variation, other parts of the brain such as the frontal lobes, hypothalamus, and amygdala are involved in making choices. The amygdala and frontal lobes in the brain are most heavily involved in the decision making process. The amygdala is a tiny, almond-shaped part of the brain that is concerned with emotions such as fear and aggression while the frontal cortex 8237169 1
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is a region in the brain that gives people the ability to control such emotions and impulses. While adults are attempting to make a decision, their amygdalas are less active while the frontal lobes are more active allowing adults to be rational when facing emotional decisions. However, in teenagers and children, the amygdala is highly active during many types of decisions, causing them to make decisions that aren’t rational and are based primarily on emotions (Talukder 1). The hypothalamus contributes to many basic decisions that are made daily. Certain parts of the hypothalamus regulate body temperature, breathing, sleep, hunger, thirst, urination, and emotions. This tiny part of the brain, in a way, forces you to make decisions like when to go to the bathroom, when to eat or drink, and when to go to bed. Despite the many discoveries made about the brain and decision making in recent years, there are still countless mysteries about the decision making and the brain that are unsolved. All the components of brain that are involved in the process of decision making are key factors when explaining why we make the economic decisions that we make. Moving forward, irrational buying behavior exemplifies failures in decision making .
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2011 for the course ECON ECON-1005 taught by Professor Randyhull during the Spring '09 term at Fanshawe.

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Graduation Paper - 8237169 1 8237169 Graduation Project...

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