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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Oct 15;58(8):597-604. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Neurobiology of decision making: a selective review from a neurocognitive and clinical perspective.

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  • 1Section of Developmental and Affective Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, 15K North Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We present a temporal map of key processes that occur during decision making, which consists of three stages: 1) formation of preferences among options, 2) selection and execution of an action, and 3) experience or evaluation of an outcome. This framework can be used to integrate findings of traditional choice psychology, neuropsychology, brain lesion studies, and functional neuroimaging. Decision making is distributed across various brain centers, which are differentially active across these stages of decision making. This approach can be used to follow developmental trajectories of the different stages of decision making and to identify unique deficits associated with distinct psychiatric disorders.

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