Why do people act inconsistently?

According to PNAS, scientists at Imperial College London, UK, have been trying to understand why people are often inconsistent, when today a decision can be made but tomorrow not changed completely with another decision.

Why do people act inconsistently?
Before making a decision, if the brain is in a quiet resting state, we are at risk of making a risky decision – (Image: CCO).

Researcher Tobias Hauser shared that our brain is constantly in a state of activity, even when we are resting doing nothing. Therefore, the researchers decided to find out how this affects the decision-making process . And apparently, our inconsistent behavior is partly explained by the activity of our brains when we’re resting doing nothing. The scientists invited 43 volunteers to participate in the study.

Volunteers are invited to participate in a game of red and black. They need to choose between a safe bet, whereby they will win a small amount of money, and a risky decision, which can lead to a large sum of money or nothing. As the volunteers played, the scientists continuously monitored their brain activity. At the same time, scientists used magnetic resonance imaging equipment to monitor the activity of the medial brain region (midbrain, mesencephalon), the central nervous system part of the brain stem, which controls visual and auditory functions. perception, motor control, sleep/wake, vigilance, and body temperature regulation. This region of the brain contains the maximum number of dopamine neurons, which dopamine is a very important neurotransmitter for risky behavior. The human brain shows significant fluctuation in brain regions in the absence of external stimulation (i.e. when the person is at rest).

As it turns out, the choice of study participants was largely dependent on whether or not they had been rested before. That means that before making a decision, if the brain is at rest, people are at risk of making risky decisions.

Thus, scientists have demonstrated that endogenous brain activity provides a physiological basis for changing complex human behavior. Robb Rutledge, one of the study’s authors, explains that spontaneous oscillations in a key decision-making area of the brain make us very unpredictable, and that can help us adapt to an ever-changing world.