Since the dawn of time human beings have had to make decisions. Wise or foolish, thoughtful or instinctive, altruistic or selfish, decision-making – from the most simple to the most complex – enables people to confront and overcome constant environmental challenges. Yet, despite the momentousness of decision-making in adaptability terms, men and women ignore the actual process that takes place in their minds when, for example, they invest in the stock market, buy a car, trust a person they just met, or simply decide to go to the movies. While some decisions are taken in a few seconds (when we act impulsively without time to evaluate the process), other decisions require considerable cognitive effort and accurate cost-benefit analysis. But is it only the optimal decision that deserves to be called rational? If this is the case, how then can we explain the wisdom of our instincts, of our emotions, of our ‘sixth sense’? Moreover, what is the role of subjectivity, free will, desire, culture in the decision-making process? … Research on decision-making has had a long and controversial history. The idea of a perfect rationality has more recently given way to the idea of a rationality conscious of its incompleteness – to a process that cannot be expressed or conceived in logical or rational terms. In this ground-breaking book, Mauro Maldonato reinterprets the secular controversy about the nature of human decision-making in light of recent discoveries in cognitive neurosciences and new research (neuroeconomics and neuroethics). At the end of this literary excursion along a stunning archipelago of rationality, morality, emotion and consciousness, the reader is provided with the means to view and assess personal decision-making and resultant action in a completely different way – a way that impacts positively on human interaction and psychological wholeness.
“ In his book, Maldonato provides a thoughtful look at how early scholars viewed decision-making and rationality. He takes the reader on an illustrative journey through the historic passages of decision-making all the way to modern notions of a more limited rationality and how humans can make choices under risk and uncertainty... For Maldonato, the principle of bounded rationality – that organisms have limited resources, such as time, information, and cognitive capacity with which to find solutions to the problems they face – is a key insight to understanding the evolution of decision-making.” —Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
About the Author:
Mauro Maldonato is a psychiatrist and Professor at the University of Basilicata, Italy. He was a visiting professor at many universities in Europe and North and South America. His research field are cognitive neurosciences, given particular attention to decision making, consciousness and research on research.