Thursday, May 05, 2005

Visual Spatial Decision-Making

Good decisions are the foundations for problem solving, and this additional study adds more details about the steps for solving multi-stepped visual spatial puzzles. Here the researchers found that efficient problem solvers of the Tower of London task were able to activate a larger area of their right prefrontal cortex, an important area for pattern recognition and pattern sorting . Other brain areas that were necessary, included regions associated with visual spatial attention, motor and visual spatial imagery, and spatial working memory.

For those who like keeping up with the cingulate cortex (area associated with selective attention, ADHD, reward / punishment), there were additional details about how the cingulate appeared to be activated not just when an error was detected, but when it appeared that brain needed to generate other alternatives (replan) in presence of incorrect solutions.

Some links below to extend thinking about how to foster or cultivate efficient decision making. Decision-making should be fostered from an early age, but often the ends (results, facts mastered) are emphasized over process. The pattern of efficient visual spatial decision-making suggested that the best problem solvers were superior at other subtasks such as pattern recognition and pattern sorting.

When Planning Fails Abstract
Overview of Decision Making
Basic Guidelines to Problem Solving and Decision Making
Decision Making Techniques- Mind Tools
Tower of London 2003

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