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Intuitive decision making as a gradual process: investigating semantic intuition-based and priming-based decisions with fMRI.

Zander T, Horr NK, Bolte A, Volz KG - Brain Behav (2015)

Bottom Line: We realized this by priming participants with concepts associated with incoherent triads in separate priming blocks prior to the coherence judgments.For intuition-based decisions, imaging results mainly revealed activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, within the inferior frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus.Regarding research question 2, we can draw the preliminary conclusion of a qualitative difference between intuition-based and priming-based decisions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative NeuroscienceUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany; International Max Planck Research SchoolTübingenGermany; Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselSwitzerland.

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Intuition has been defined as the instantaneous, experience-based impression of coherence elicited by cues in the environment. In a context of discovery, intuitive decision-making processes can be conceptualized as occurring within two stages, the first of which comprises an implicit perception of coherence that is not (yet) verbalizable. Through a process of spreading activation, this initially non-conscious perception gradually crosses over a threshold of awareness and thereby becomes explicable. Because of its experiential basis, intuition shares conceptual similarities with implicit memory processes. Based on these, the study addresses two research questions: (1) Is the gradual nature of intuitive processes reflected on a neural level? (2) Do intuition-based decisions differ neurally from priming-based decisions?

Methods: To answer these questions, we conducted an fMRI study using the triads task and presented participants with coherent word triads that converge on a common fourth concept, and incoherent word triads that do not converge on a common fourth concept. Participants had to perform semantic coherence judgments as well as to indicate whether they immediately knew the fourth concept. To enable investigating intuition-based and priming-based decisions within the same task and with the same participants, we implemented a conceptual priming procedure into the coherence judgment task. We realized this by priming participants with concepts associated with incoherent triads in separate priming blocks prior to the coherence judgments.

Results: For intuition-based decisions, imaging results mainly revealed activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, within the inferior frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus. Activity suppression in the right temporo-occipital complex was observed for priming-based decisions.

Conclusions: With respect to research question 1, our data support a continuity model of intuition because the two intuitive stages show quantitatively distinct brain activation patterns. Regarding research question 2, we can draw the preliminary conclusion of a qualitative difference between intuition-based and priming-based decisions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experimental design fMRI study. Participants worked on alternating blocks of lexical decisions and the triads task, whereby the triads task consisted of semantic coherence judgments and word‐stem completions. In the coherence judgment task, participants had three response options: incoh = the triad is perceived as incoherent (response option 1: “The triad is incoherent”); coh SOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, but a possible CA cannot be named immediately (response option 2: „The triad is coherent and therefore has a fourth word in common, but a CA cannot be retrieved at this time”); and cohSOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, and a possible CA can be named immediately (response option 3: “The triad is coherent and a CA can be retrieved immediately”). To test whether participants could name the correct CA when they had judged the triad as coherent and at the same time indicated that they knew the CA, they were presented with all coherent and primed triads again right after the scanning procedure and had to write them down in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. (A) Example of a coherent triad preceded in the lexical decision block by either a non‐word or a semantically unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of the actual solution. (B) Example of an incoherent triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by either a non‐word or an unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of a semantically unrelated word. (C) Example of a primed triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by the prime (i.e., consisting of the synonym of one word of the three triads constituents), and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of this primed synonym (target).
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brb3420-fig-0002: Experimental design fMRI study. Participants worked on alternating blocks of lexical decisions and the triads task, whereby the triads task consisted of semantic coherence judgments and word‐stem completions. In the coherence judgment task, participants had three response options: incoh = the triad is perceived as incoherent (response option 1: “The triad is incoherent”); coh SOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, but a possible CA cannot be named immediately (response option 2: „The triad is coherent and therefore has a fourth word in common, but a CA cannot be retrieved at this time”); and cohSOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, and a possible CA can be named immediately (response option 3: “The triad is coherent and a CA can be retrieved immediately”). To test whether participants could name the correct CA when they had judged the triad as coherent and at the same time indicated that they knew the CA, they were presented with all coherent and primed triads again right after the scanning procedure and had to write them down in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. (A) Example of a coherent triad preceded in the lexical decision block by either a non‐word or a semantically unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of the actual solution. (B) Example of an incoherent triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by either a non‐word or an unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of a semantically unrelated word. (C) Example of a primed triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by the prime (i.e., consisting of the synonym of one word of the three triads constituents), and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of this primed synonym (target).

Mentions: The experiment consisted of two different experimental blocks: (1) lexical decision blocks (i.e., incorporation of a conceptual priming procedure),2 and (2) semantic coherence judgments blocks (i.e., usage of the triads task to assess intuitive performance). Please consult Figure 2 for an overview of the experimental design.


Intuitive decision making as a gradual process: investigating semantic intuition-based and priming-based decisions with fMRI.

Zander T, Horr NK, Bolte A, Volz KG - Brain Behav (2015)

Experimental design fMRI study. Participants worked on alternating blocks of lexical decisions and the triads task, whereby the triads task consisted of semantic coherence judgments and word‐stem completions. In the coherence judgment task, participants had three response options: incoh = the triad is perceived as incoherent (response option 1: “The triad is incoherent”); coh SOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, but a possible CA cannot be named immediately (response option 2: „The triad is coherent and therefore has a fourth word in common, but a CA cannot be retrieved at this time”); and cohSOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, and a possible CA can be named immediately (response option 3: “The triad is coherent and a CA can be retrieved immediately”). To test whether participants could name the correct CA when they had judged the triad as coherent and at the same time indicated that they knew the CA, they were presented with all coherent and primed triads again right after the scanning procedure and had to write them down in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. (A) Example of a coherent triad preceded in the lexical decision block by either a non‐word or a semantically unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of the actual solution. (B) Example of an incoherent triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by either a non‐word or an unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of a semantically unrelated word. (C) Example of a primed triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by the prime (i.e., consisting of the synonym of one word of the three triads constituents), and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of this primed synonym (target).
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brb3420-fig-0002: Experimental design fMRI study. Participants worked on alternating blocks of lexical decisions and the triads task, whereby the triads task consisted of semantic coherence judgments and word‐stem completions. In the coherence judgment task, participants had three response options: incoh = the triad is perceived as incoherent (response option 1: “The triad is incoherent”); coh SOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, but a possible CA cannot be named immediately (response option 2: „The triad is coherent and therefore has a fourth word in common, but a CA cannot be retrieved at this time”); and cohSOL = the triad is perceived as coherent, and a possible CA can be named immediately (response option 3: “The triad is coherent and a CA can be retrieved immediately”). To test whether participants could name the correct CA when they had judged the triad as coherent and at the same time indicated that they knew the CA, they were presented with all coherent and primed triads again right after the scanning procedure and had to write them down in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. (A) Example of a coherent triad preceded in the lexical decision block by either a non‐word or a semantically unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of the actual solution. (B) Example of an incoherent triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by either a non‐word or an unrelated word, and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of a semantically unrelated word. (C) Example of a primed triad preceded in the lexical decision blocks by the prime (i.e., consisting of the synonym of one word of the three triads constituents), and followed in the word‐stem completion by the first two letters of this primed synonym (target).
Mentions: The experiment consisted of two different experimental blocks: (1) lexical decision blocks (i.e., incorporation of a conceptual priming procedure),2 and (2) semantic coherence judgments blocks (i.e., usage of the triads task to assess intuitive performance). Please consult Figure 2 for an overview of the experimental design.

Bottom Line: We realized this by priming participants with concepts associated with incoherent triads in separate priming blocks prior to the coherence judgments.For intuition-based decisions, imaging results mainly revealed activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, within the inferior frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus.Regarding research question 2, we can draw the preliminary conclusion of a qualitative difference between intuition-based and priming-based decisions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative NeuroscienceUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany; International Max Planck Research SchoolTübingenGermany; Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselSwitzerland.

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Intuition has been defined as the instantaneous, experience-based impression of coherence elicited by cues in the environment. In a context of discovery, intuitive decision-making processes can be conceptualized as occurring within two stages, the first of which comprises an implicit perception of coherence that is not (yet) verbalizable. Through a process of spreading activation, this initially non-conscious perception gradually crosses over a threshold of awareness and thereby becomes explicable. Because of its experiential basis, intuition shares conceptual similarities with implicit memory processes. Based on these, the study addresses two research questions: (1) Is the gradual nature of intuitive processes reflected on a neural level? (2) Do intuition-based decisions differ neurally from priming-based decisions?

Methods: To answer these questions, we conducted an fMRI study using the triads task and presented participants with coherent word triads that converge on a common fourth concept, and incoherent word triads that do not converge on a common fourth concept. Participants had to perform semantic coherence judgments as well as to indicate whether they immediately knew the fourth concept. To enable investigating intuition-based and priming-based decisions within the same task and with the same participants, we implemented a conceptual priming procedure into the coherence judgment task. We realized this by priming participants with concepts associated with incoherent triads in separate priming blocks prior to the coherence judgments.

Results: For intuition-based decisions, imaging results mainly revealed activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, within the inferior frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus. Activity suppression in the right temporo-occipital complex was observed for priming-based decisions.

Conclusions: With respect to research question 1, our data support a continuity model of intuition because the two intuitive stages show quantitatively distinct brain activation patterns. Regarding research question 2, we can draw the preliminary conclusion of a qualitative difference between intuition-based and priming-based decisions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus