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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

Imaging results research question 2. Group‐averaged significant activation patterns on coronal, sagittal, and axial slices of an individual brain normalized and aligned to the Talairach stereotactic space are shown. (C) Contrast: Intuitive Processes at the Threshold > Priming‐Based Decisions. (D) Parametric contrast: Activity suppression for priming‐based decisions. IFG = inferior frontal gyrus, MTG = middle temporal gyrus OFC = orbito‐frontal gyrus.
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brb3420-fig-0005: Imaging results research question 2. Group‐averaged significant activation patterns on coronal, sagittal, and axial slices of an individual brain normalized and aligned to the Talairach stereotactic space are shown. (C) Contrast: Intuitive Processes at the Threshold > Priming‐Based Decisions. (D) Parametric contrast: Activity suppression for priming‐based decisions. IFG = inferior frontal gyrus, MTG = middle temporal gyrus OFC = orbito‐frontal gyrus.

Mentions: To test whether intuition‐based and priming‐based decisions elicit different activation patterns, we compared the three different kinds of intuitive processes with the successfully primed trials and vice versa. Primed trials did not show any specific activation in this comparison ((5) vs. (1); (5) vs. (2); (5) vs. (3)). That is, for primed trials, we did not observe any specific activation pattern when contrasted with intuitive trials. As opposed to this, when we contrasted intuition‐based decisions against priming‐based decisions we found a brain network specifically activated in this contrast. To compare intuition‐based and priming‐based decisions directly, we contrasted intuitive processes at the threshold of awareness with priming‐based decisions ((2) vs. (5)), since this contrasts suited best for our aim to compare the two concepts. In case of priming‐based decisions, the priming was externally induced via our research design. Contrary to that, processes at the threshold of awareness reflect some kind of an internal priming processing, namely when the three clue words of a coherent triad converge on a common concept. Results revealed activation within the left posterior OFC (x = −20, y = 16, z = −14), within the left ITG (x = −48, y = −56, z = −14) and within the right ventral tegmental area (x = 10, y = −18, z = −10) for intuitive processes at the threshold of awareness ((2) vs. (5)) (Fig. 5C).


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)

Imaging results research question 2. Group‐averaged significant activation patterns on coronal, sagittal, and axial slices of an individual brain normalized and aligned to the Talairach stereotactic space are shown. (C) Contrast: Intuitive Processes at the Threshold > Priming‐Based Decisions. (D) Parametric contrast: Activity suppression for priming‐based decisions. IFG = inferior frontal gyrus, MTG = middle temporal gyrus OFC = orbito‐frontal gyrus.
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4834943&req=5

brb3420-fig-0005: Imaging results research question 2. Group‐averaged significant activation patterns on coronal, sagittal, and axial slices of an individual brain normalized and aligned to the Talairach stereotactic space are shown. (C) Contrast: Intuitive Processes at the Threshold > Priming‐Based Decisions. (D) Parametric contrast: Activity suppression for priming‐based decisions. IFG = inferior frontal gyrus, MTG = middle temporal gyrus OFC = orbito‐frontal gyrus.
Mentions: To test whether intuition‐based and priming‐based decisions elicit different activation patterns, we compared the three different kinds of intuitive processes with the successfully primed trials and vice versa. Primed trials did not show any specific activation in this comparison ((5) vs. (1); (5) vs. (2); (5) vs. (3)). That is, for primed trials, we did not observe any specific activation pattern when contrasted with intuitive trials. As opposed to this, when we contrasted intuition‐based decisions against priming‐based decisions we found a brain network specifically activated in this contrast. To compare intuition‐based and priming‐based decisions directly, we contrasted intuitive processes at the threshold of awareness with priming‐based decisions ((2) vs. (5)), since this contrasts suited best for our aim to compare the two concepts. In case of priming‐based decisions, the priming was externally induced via our research design. Contrary to that, processes at the threshold of awareness reflect some kind of an internal priming processing, namely when the three clue words of a coherent triad converge on a common concept. Results revealed activation within the left posterior OFC (x = −20, y = 16, z = −14), within the left ITG (x = −48, y = −56, z = −14) and within the right ventral tegmental area (x = 10, y = −18, z = −10) for intuitive processes at the threshold of awareness ((2) vs. (5)) (Fig. 5C).

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