Paradox of Choice

So, here I am. Back in my home country. Enjoying the heat.
The journey of two years of my Master program finally ended. I was graduated from Wageningen University with the title of Master of Sciences. Got a good mark on my final project. Indeed, some good things to celebrate at the beginning of 2014.

Hooray for me!

Another thing is, I surely have a lot of things to share. Like, literally a lot.
From friendship to travel.
From neurosciences to precious experiences.

Although I was not a Master in neurosciences, however I am always intrigued by the facts that how our brains control our bodies, and more importantly how they control our subconsciousness. Not so long ago, I read an interesting article of which famously popped up on my Facebook home and reminds me of the neuroscience. The original idea of that article was inspired by a case happens in a big city in Indonesia. Closely related to the Mayor of that city and the prostitution area.

Well, as I am not talking about politic or national issue, so I will put that aside.

Back to the neuroscience that I am going to talk about. Apparently, (neuro)scientists have been continuing their best efforts to reveal the work of our brains. Especially, when it comes to event recognition and storing memories. Research showed that to record a memory, it requires the connections between neurons of which the human brain has 100 billion neurons in all. Each memory stimulates and twist some tiny subset of the neurons in the brain, leading to the communication among neurons. To do this property, neurons send messages to another across narrow gaps called synapses. A synapse is like a bustling port, complete with machinery for sending and receiving cargo—neurotransmitters, specialized chemicals that convey signals between neurons. All of the shipping machinery is built from proteins, the basic building blocks of cells (Taken from here). Later, the memory will be stored in a part of our brains named the hippocampus, as it is shown in the following picture.

Memory stored in brain

The next question would be: 1) How does our brain process the memory? 2) How does the memory influence our subconsciousness? 3) Will the brain store the memory forever?

Okay. Easy.
I am not in lecturing all of you.
This is, once again, my curiosity.

Apparently, brain is a complex system. It might have a clear explanation, yet lead to another mystery.
So, in order to store and reinforce the memory, the brain involves both a biological and a behavioral perspective. The relationship between sight, sound, and context to consolidate into working memory in the prefrontal lobe. Further reinforcement through practice caused more consolidation, and the most critical relationships in the event (the name, the face, and the context) were tied together in the hippocampus, and later stored as the long-term memory of which we think it may be important for us to remember (Source).

Then, does the memory influence our decision? If yes, how?

So, based on the neuroscience, when we would like to make a decision, our brains go through the two systems:
either, 1) through subconsciousness, which based on particular patterns or stored memories, or 2) based on observations at present (Source: National Geographic – Brain Games).

The first system may lead us to a spontaneous decision. The impulsive ones. Or another one which put us in a danger, and needs us to make a quick decision. Meanwhile, the latter may lead us to a contemplation or an important situation, which need us to think about all the probabilities and consequences. The latter one needs a lot of useful information and experiences, hence we may avoid some mistakes or post-traumatic effects.

However, there is no black and white border in giving decision. Whether it is more the spontaneous or the ordered one. The brain always has its own way to surprise us. Next, in case you are very very very curious, here I am telling you the part of our brains which is responsible in giving decision/deduction/behavior/intellectual capability/judgment/problem solving and many more. If you ever heard the frontal lobe, or more specifically the prefrontal cortex, then you already met the guy.

However, based on previous descriptions, they lead me to an important question:
What kind of ‘food’ that I am feeding into my brain?

I surely hope that they are not the rubbish ones.
Otherwise, I am already in a big big big trouble.

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One thought on “Paradox of Choice

  1. I once watched a tv show or something like that. The host said that we only use 2% of our whole brain capability to memorized things. Genius people like Einsten, use 6% of it (and the fact that there was a japanese professor who keeps a pinch of Einstein’s brain as his personal memento is kinda freaking me out. Read it in openculture.com).

    So memorized is the easiest thing our brain can do. And basically, there is no such things as a right or a wrong decision, only a spontaneous or an organized one?

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