Have you ever wondered from where do our thoughts and feelings come? I’m currently reading Incognito by David Eagleman and in the first half of this book I got the idea that somehow our conscious self is the last one to know about… everything. The underlying processes decide everything and we are informed about those decisions (ok, it’s still we the ones deciding, but not the conscious part).
There were some studies made about this idea and the researchers scanned the brain of some subjects whilst asking them different things or giving them different tasks. The subjects where asked to do something when they want to and it seems that there was some intense brain activity seconds before the subjects said they started to feel the need or desire to do something (something like lifting a finger).
Apparently, we feel the need to do things and after that we rationalize the decisions we made, but those reasons are not always the real ones. The decision has been made prior that by our unconscious self and then the conscious self is informed by that decision and the conscious self tries to find some reasons to justify the decision. I guess it’s a way to get a feeling of control.
Another very interesting idea is that our brain chemistry is affecting our decision making process. It seems that people make different decisions based on how their brain is wired. For example, some people harmed others because they couldn’t control themselves. After their brains were analyzed, it turned out that different tumors in different parts of the brain explains the behavior. Some of them even had a journal where they stated they couldn’t explain why they felt the urge to harm others. It seems that a brain tumor can make the difference between a regular person and a mass murderer.
It’s a very interesting topic and this book brings some very interesting insights. Our unconscious self might have a bigger role in our decision making than I’ve thought. I’m looking forward to see what else is there.
What do you think about this? Is our conscious part deciding our life or the decisions are already made and our conscious part is just informed about that and it tries to make some sense out of it?
20 thoughts on “Who’s in charge of YOU?”
I think that if you have awareness and a level of understanding of the feelings then you can normally make a conscious decision about whether to act on them.
Many factors (anything like tiredness, too much noise, and brain tumours or other physiological problems) may interfere with our awareness and ability to make that self control kick in, or we may just not have developed awareness around certain things.
That’s true! I also find this idea of unconscious decision making a little extreme… of course, it’s possible and real, but not all the time.
Human brain is most complex thing to understand
Don’t know why we do what we do
will like to know more about this
Yes, that’s right! I’ll probably make a second post about this once I finish the book.
I will wait
See, I didn’t do it on purpose…
That’s what I was thinking!
Of course you didn’t…
I believe that our subconscious mind has a much bigger role than our conscious mind in decision-making and thinking. At least, I find this to be the case with me.
Would you say that your subconscious mind has the last word in your decision-making and thinking?
Oh yeah, most of the time
This is fascinating! I really think that our subconscious knows what we really want, but our conscious decisions (driven by society, family and circumstances) make us choose what we have to do, rather than what we want to do.
That is true! I guess there’s a constant battle between what we want and what everybody else wants from us (or we think they want from us).
Very much so
Just to make things more complicated, I’ll insert into this fascinating, beautiful mess the question: when you have a hunch, does it come from your subconscious?
Great question! I think it does come from our subconscious because the subconscious has the ability to process information without us realizing it. But I guess it’s up to our conscious self to decide if we’re going to act upon that hunch or not.
I’ve read that some part of our brains (can’t remember the name of the region) reacts to something that happens (impulse behaviour), and another part of our brains (can’t remember what it’s called again) which does the rational thingy tries to understand if our reaction is necessary. A lot of times, when we say or do something, it happens too fast for the rational part to stop. That’s when the wrong things are said or done. Our brains are so complicated!
Yes, you’re right. When once the amygdala starts processing the emotions, it hijacks all our brain and all we do is to behave based on our emotions, this the impulse behavior. If our prefrontal cortex fails to stop this from happening, there is no rational behavior here. I’ve actually wrote about this in my book (Fighting the Inside Dragons). Thank you for reminding me about the importance of impulsive behavior versus rational behavior! 😀
Thank you very much!