Published on:

4th May 2022

Neuroscience and Decision-Making by Albert Rutherford

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Steer your emotional brain so it doesn’t overrun your life. A neuroscience-based approach to avoiding impulsive decisions, distractions, and unconscious biases.

Our brains are not wired for optimal, cool headed, slow decisions. They are wired for fast, survival-oriented, emotion-based reactions. It’s time to understand your primal mental tendencies and make more deliberate, cool-headed choices.

Stop deciding on autopilot. You can do better.

Studies have shown that our decisions are disrupted by a large selection of irrationalities and biases. We tend to look for information that supports our opinion and discount that doesn’t. Sudden emotions can make us change our mind on a whim. Our brains, fascinating as they are, often are not reliable to make the best decision if left unchecked. When willpower is depleted, we tend to take the path of least resistance and procrastinate. When uncertainty arises, the amygdala can lead us into fight or flight reactions. The next thing you know is that we feel anxious, dissatisfied, or discouraged about who you are.

What if there was a way to make quality decisions consistently? Good news, there is!

Neuroscience and Decision-Making breaks down the chemical and physiological events in the brain that lead to sometimes unwanted choices. Instead of labeling yourself as someone who “always makes bad decisions,” shift perspective. The solution is not personality-related, it’s awareness-related. To overcome your brain’s natural decision-making tendencies, you need to understand the brain’s urges and work with them, rather than against them.

Think clearly, second-guess yourself less, and ultimately be more satisfied with your choices.

Albert Rutherford is an internationally bestselling author. His books draw on various sources, from corporate system building, strategic analysis, scientific research, and his life experience. He has been optimizing individual and corporate decision-making his whole adult life and brings his proven advice to you.

Live life with fewer regrets.

•How to fully tap into your brain’s superpower, neuroplasticity.

•How heuristics trick your brain for suboptimal choices and how to avoid them.

•The role of the amygdala in impulse decisions and how to modulate your responses to them.

•How distractions affect your “control network” and ways to mitigate their effect.

•Understanding the “I will”, “I won’t”, “I want” willpower responses.

•Should you or should you not rely on your gut feeling?

•How virtual reality can help you increase your empathy when making decisions.

Neuroscience and Decision-Making is based on extensive research and study between the fields of psychology, behavior science, neuropsychology, and decision-making. Learn to make consistently good decisions in alignment with your true goals and values.


#AlbertRutherford #AntonioDamasio #DamasiosSomaticMarkerTheory #DecisionMaking #PhineasGage #NeuroscienceandDecision-Making #RussellNewton #NewtonMG

Albert Rutherford,Antonio Damasio,Damasios Somatic Marker Theory,DecisionMaking,Phineas Gage,Neuroscience and Decision-Making,Russell Newton,NewtonMG


First, Phineas would drill a hole in a rock and then use his tamper (a big metal stick) to fill it with explosive powder, sand, and clay.

For Gage, this was a routine task.

But September 13 was different.

Gage’s tamper scraped the nearby rock, shedding some sparks that triggered the explosion.

The tamper was still in the hole, and the blast launched it upwards, right through Gage’s skull.

His brain was substantially damaged, particularly his left frontal lobe’s orbitofrontal cortex.ii

Not only did Phineas Gage survive this horrible accident, but he almost immediately got up, talked, and walked with little assistance.

As the doctor inspected his wound, Gage spoke about the accident and described the event in great detail.

He felt fatigued because he had lost a lot of blood, but otherwise, he was fully conscious and alert.

Shortly after the accident, Gage’s health deteriorated due to infections.

But even so, just ten weeks after the accident, he was able to walk and offer help with the household chores.

Why is this case so interesting and important?

Because doctors compared Gage’s behavior before and after the accident.

Through this close follow-up, they could localize and interrelate different cognitive functions within the brain.

Gage’s doctor, Harlow, left abundant evidence concerning Gage’s changing behavior.

He famously stated that Gage was: “No longer Gage."

Before the accident, Phineas Gage was hard-working, ambitious, and conscientious.

After the incident, he became impulsive, fitful, and sometimes reckless.

He still had many plans for the future but was no longer as diligent.

He lacked self-control in bringing his plans to life.

Generally speaking, his intellect and memory remained intact, but his personality changed.

Gage was able to return to a relatively normal level of functioning – he moved to Chile, where he worked as a carriage driver.

And back in the day, this meant driving for 13 hours a day.

Probably the structure and routine provided by his Chilean excursion helped him reverse the detrimental changes he suffered.

To this day, neurologists, neuroscientists, and neuropsychologists mention this case as one of the greatest testaments to the brain’s strength, adaptability, on the one hand, and localization of certain functions on the other.

Gage’s case is also fascinating to those who want to know more about the neural basis of decision-making processes.

Why did Gage’s personality change?

Probably because his orbitofrontal cortex was severely damaged.


We know that it receives information from various parts of the brain, most notably the amygdala, and the sensory regions (all senses).

It’s one of the “stations” on the brain's reward pathway.

Amygdala plays a crucial role in recognizing emotions, while the sensory regions receive information from the senses and send them to further processing in the brain.

Damasio’s Somatic Marker Theory is one of the most elegant theories of what happens in the orbitofrontal cortex (or the ventromedial prefrontal cortex).

Antonio Damasio focused on impairments in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and corresponding debilitations in the decision-making process.

He concluded that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is crucial in establishing a link between mental representations and body (visceral) feedback.

Simply put, what probably happened to Phineas Gage was that he couldn’t “feel” what was right and wrong, something he had a solid sense of before the accident.

Damasio mentions that many people with dysfunctional ventromedial prefrontal cortex don’t have the same feelings about risk as others do.

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Voice over Work - An Audiobook Sampler
Audiobook synopsises for the masses
You know that guy that reads all the time, and always has a book recommendation for you?

Well, I read and/or produce hundreds of audiobooks a year, and when I read one that has good material, I feature it here. This is my Recommended Listening list. These choices are not influenced by authors or sponsors, just books worthy of your consideration.

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