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Adv Mind Body Med. 2014 Fall;28(4):18-33.

Toward an operational model of decision making, emotional regulation, and mental health impact.

Abstract

Current brain research increasingly reveals the underlying mechanisms and processes of human behavior, cognition, and emotion. In addition to being of interest to a wide range of scientists, educators, and professionals, as well as laypeople, brain-based models are of particular value in a clinical setting. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals are in need of operational models that integrate recent findings in the physical, cognitive, and emotional domains, and offer a common language for interdisciplinary understanding and communication. Based on individual traits, predispositions, and responses to stimuli, we can begin to identify emotional and behavioral pathways and mental processing patterns. The purpose of this article is to present a brain-path activation model to understand individual differences in decision making and psychopathology. The first section discusses the role of frontal lobe electroencephalography (EEG) asymmetry, summarizes state- and trait-based models of decision making, and provides a more complex analysis that supplements the traditional simple left-right brain model. Key components of the new model are the introduction of right hemisphere parallel and left hemisphere serial scanning in rendering decisions, and the proposition of pathways that incorporate both past experiences as well as future implications into the decision process. Main attributes of each decision-making mechanism are provided. The second section applies the model within the realm of clinical mental health as a tool to understand specific human behavior and pathology. Applications include general and chronic anxiety, depression, paranoia, risk taking, and the pathways employed when well-functioning operational integration is observed. Finally, specific applications such as meditation and mindfulness are offered to facilitate positive functioning.

PMID:
25590293
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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