Humanitaire : sadapter ou renoncer (Essai) (French Edition)

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Once again, this is your frontal cortex that will control the selection of such a voluntary action Miller, Finally, you have to decide how much time you are willing to spend flicking the lighter. This will likely depend on whether you have another one handy.

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How stubborn you are may be regulated by serotonin, a neuromodulator that has been linked to patience Fonseca et al. At Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, we have developed a simple task that re-creates the lighter-flicking experience. Here, mice naturally forage for water but drops are delivered sparsely and sometimes, at random, the water resource becomes depleted.


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This is just like a capricious lighter that produces flames inconsistently, until the reserve of gas suddenly runs low. In our experiment, we carefully monitor the behaviour of the mice during this task to understand how persistent they are in searching for water, and when they give up to explore somewhere else. Using computational models, we can explain the main aspects of this decision-making process. According to Pietro Vertechi, my colleague who developed the model:.

Just like in the equivalent naturalistic scenario, the animal receives many different stimuli from the colour of the box to the smell of the experimenter or the taste of the water , most of which are irrelevant to solving the task. Mathematical modelling tells us what are the important variables that the subject should be tracking such as the number of consecutive failed attempts.

We can then test what brain regions encode that information and how. Thus, to reconstruct piece by piece the neural puzzle of decision, we search for these interactive mechanisms in the mouse brain.

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To scrutinize the activity of different areas of the nervous system and uncover their role as decision-maker, we use state-of-the-art technologies. For instance, a recent technique called fibre photometry , allows us to detect very small signals in the reward system, such as dopamine release, while mice sample the water rewards. Likewise, to listen at the conversation between neurons in multiple frontal areas, we use a novel technology that records the electrical activity of hundreds of neurons simultaneously while animals perform the task.

Because this approach offers a fine spatiotemporal resolution, it has the potential to help us track how information travels within the brain while the decision is formed.


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Finally, genetically encoded optical switches, which are light-sensitive proteins called opsins , are used to remote-control neural activity using light flashes. This powerful tool allows us to directly control selected groups of cells, such as the neurons that release serotonin, and probe their effects on the behaviour.

This could tell us why some animals hesitate while other jump to action. A better view on the neural mechanisms that govern our choices could reveal what causes a person to persist in doing something regardless of the risk.

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Such propensity can lead to cognitive dysfunctions linked to addiction and other compulsive disorders. Thus, understanding the neural processes that control behavioural adaptations could have immense implications for society. On the other hand, lack of persistence in the face of adversity is one of the trademarks of depressive disorders. Interestingly, although serotonin is the main target of antidepressant drugs, its exact function remains enigmatic.

By testing the mechanistic role of this molecule on the modulation of decisions and voluntary actions, we hope to uncover a new fundamental role for this molecule that could potentially lead to innovative therapeutic strategies. Your brain?

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Created in to help accelerate and share scientific knowledge on key societal issues, the AXA Research Fund has been supporting nearly projects around the world conducted by researchers from 54 countries. A contemporary Robinsonade — York, York.

Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. The path from decision to action is a winding one.

From decision to action

Diogo Matias , Author provided No reuse. From decision to action Although the decisions we make greatly affect our everyday life, how we deliberate and commit is a complex process that we only partially understand.

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In this article, I examine the problem of the meanings of the logical constants. Are these meanings conventional as suggested by Carnap and Wittgenstein, or should we say that they are assigned and do not depend on preliminary decisions? After studying the conventionalism defended by Wittgenstein and Carnap and the anti-conventionnalism endorsed by Peacocke, according to which the meanings of the logical constants depend on some implicit conceptions, I show that both theses can equally be criticized.

By relying on different logical systems, I give some new arguments to defend an intermediary position according to which each logical constant has different variants which go from the strongest version to the weakest one.

In this context, the concept of decision plays a role in logic but the decisions depend on some previous fundamental conceptions with regard to truth, deduction and the criteria of logicality which are endorsed by the logicians, and they take into account the fundamental intuitions related to each constant. Chacun est libre de choisir de construire sa propre logique, i. En intuitionnisme, le refus ou la privation portent sur les preuves des propositions. Selon J. Les disjonctions inclusive et exclusive admettent la loi du tiers exclu, mais la fission ne la valide pas toujours [Read b, 81].