Distinction between externally vs. Internally guided decision-making: Operational differences, meta-analytical comparisons and their theoretical implications

Takashi Nakao, Hideki Ohira, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most experimental studies of decision-making have specifically examined situations in which a single less-predictable correct answer exists (externally guided decision-making under uncertainty). Along with such externally guided decision-making, there are instances of decision-making in which no correct answer based on external circumstances is available for the subject (internally guided decision-making). Such decisions are usually made in the context of moral decision-making as well as in preference judgment, where the answer depends on the subject's own, i.e., internal, preferences rather than on external, i.e., circumstantial, criteria. The neuronal and psychological mechanisms that allow guidance of decisions based on more internally oriented criteria in the absence of external ones remain unclear. This study was undertaken to compare decision-making of these two kinds empirically and theoretically. First, we reviewed studies of decision-making to clarify experimental-operational differences between externally guided and internally guided decision-making. Second, using multi-level kernel density analysis, a whole-brain-based quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies was performed. Our meta-analysis revealed that the neural network used predominantly for internally guided decision-making differs from that for externally guided decision-making under uncertainty. This result suggests that studying only externally guided decision-making under uncertainty is insufficient to account for decision-making processes in the brain. Finally, based on the review and results of the meta-analysis, we discuss the differences and relations between decision-making of these two types in terms of their operational, neuronal, and theoretical characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 31
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Decision Making
Uncertainty
Meta-Analysis
Brain
Neuroimaging
Psychology

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Default-mode network
  • fMRI
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Moral judgment
  • Preference
  • Resting state
  • Social situation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

@article{4bdc2b9130c14966a719d45bbde911ea,
title = "Distinction between externally vs. Internally guided decision-making: Operational differences, meta-analytical comparisons and their theoretical implications",
abstract = "Most experimental studies of decision-making have specifically examined situations in which a single less-predictable correct answer exists (externally guided decision-making under uncertainty). Along with such externally guided decision-making, there are instances of decision-making in which no correct answer based on external circumstances is available for the subject (internally guided decision-making). Such decisions are usually made in the context of moral decision-making as well as in preference judgment, where the answer depends on the subject's own, i.e., internal, preferences rather than on external, i.e., circumstantial, criteria. The neuronal and psychological mechanisms that allow guidance of decisions based on more internally oriented criteria in the absence of external ones remain unclear. This study was undertaken to compare decision-making of these two kinds empirically and theoretically. First, we reviewed studies of decision-making to clarify experimental-operational differences between externally guided and internally guided decision-making. Second, using multi-level kernel density analysis, a whole-brain-based quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies was performed. Our meta-analysis revealed that the neural network used predominantly for internally guided decision-making differs from that for externally guided decision-making under uncertainty. This result suggests that studying only externally guided decision-making under uncertainty is insufficient to account for decision-making processes in the brain. Finally, based on the review and results of the meta-analysis, we discuss the differences and relations between decision-making of these two types in terms of their operational, neuronal, and theoretical characteristics.",
keywords = "Conflict, Default-mode network, fMRI, Medial prefrontal cortex, Moral judgment, Preference, Resting state, Social situation",
author = "Takashi Nakao and Hideki Ohira and Georg Northoff",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.3389/fnins.2012.00031",
language = "English",
journal = "Frontiers in Neuroscience",
issn = "1662-4548",
publisher = "Frontiers Research Foundation",
number = "MAR",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Distinction between externally vs. Internally guided decision-making

T2 - Operational differences, meta-analytical comparisons and their theoretical implications

AU - Nakao, Takashi

AU - Ohira, Hideki

AU - Northoff, Georg

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Most experimental studies of decision-making have specifically examined situations in which a single less-predictable correct answer exists (externally guided decision-making under uncertainty). Along with such externally guided decision-making, there are instances of decision-making in which no correct answer based on external circumstances is available for the subject (internally guided decision-making). Such decisions are usually made in the context of moral decision-making as well as in preference judgment, where the answer depends on the subject's own, i.e., internal, preferences rather than on external, i.e., circumstantial, criteria. The neuronal and psychological mechanisms that allow guidance of decisions based on more internally oriented criteria in the absence of external ones remain unclear. This study was undertaken to compare decision-making of these two kinds empirically and theoretically. First, we reviewed studies of decision-making to clarify experimental-operational differences between externally guided and internally guided decision-making. Second, using multi-level kernel density analysis, a whole-brain-based quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies was performed. Our meta-analysis revealed that the neural network used predominantly for internally guided decision-making differs from that for externally guided decision-making under uncertainty. This result suggests that studying only externally guided decision-making under uncertainty is insufficient to account for decision-making processes in the brain. Finally, based on the review and results of the meta-analysis, we discuss the differences and relations between decision-making of these two types in terms of their operational, neuronal, and theoretical characteristics.

AB - Most experimental studies of decision-making have specifically examined situations in which a single less-predictable correct answer exists (externally guided decision-making under uncertainty). Along with such externally guided decision-making, there are instances of decision-making in which no correct answer based on external circumstances is available for the subject (internally guided decision-making). Such decisions are usually made in the context of moral decision-making as well as in preference judgment, where the answer depends on the subject's own, i.e., internal, preferences rather than on external, i.e., circumstantial, criteria. The neuronal and psychological mechanisms that allow guidance of decisions based on more internally oriented criteria in the absence of external ones remain unclear. This study was undertaken to compare decision-making of these two kinds empirically and theoretically. First, we reviewed studies of decision-making to clarify experimental-operational differences between externally guided and internally guided decision-making. Second, using multi-level kernel density analysis, a whole-brain-based quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies was performed. Our meta-analysis revealed that the neural network used predominantly for internally guided decision-making differs from that for externally guided decision-making under uncertainty. This result suggests that studying only externally guided decision-making under uncertainty is insufficient to account for decision-making processes in the brain. Finally, based on the review and results of the meta-analysis, we discuss the differences and relations between decision-making of these two types in terms of their operational, neuronal, and theoretical characteristics.

KW - Conflict

KW - Default-mode network

KW - fMRI

KW - Medial prefrontal cortex

KW - Moral judgment

KW - Preference

KW - Resting state

KW - Social situation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84862188317&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84862188317&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fnins.2012.00031

DO - 10.3389/fnins.2012.00031

M3 - Article

C2 - 22403525

AN - SCOPUS:84862188317

JO - Frontiers in Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Neuroscience

SN - 1662-4548

IS - MAR

M1 - Article 31

ER -