Daily we encounter numerous alternative courses of action among which we must choose. These alternatives vary in complexity and consequence. Some alternatives are considered lightly, such as the way to turn on the journey home. Others require fervent deliberation, such as Hamlet's agonizing decision whether to end his life. The neural basis of decision making has been reviewed extensively [1–4] , so the goal of this primer is to orient the interested reader to this growing literature with emphasis on neurophysiological work, rather than the expansive literature on functional brain imaging and neuropsychology. Another goal is to articulate the key concepts of choosing, deciding, intending and acting [5,6] . Dwelling on terminology may seem an unnecessary tangent, but science travels on its vocabulary – inconsistent and vague terms can only yield confusion. This is all the more important when the object of this scientific investigation ultimately is nothing less than human agency.</P><h5>Choice</h5> A choice is required when an organism is confronted with alternatives for which an action is required to acquire or avoid one of the alternatives because of a desire, goal or preference. In its most fundamental sense, a choice is an overt action performed in the
Current Biology – Elsevier
Published: Jan 11, 2005
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