The Neuroscience of Making Decisions

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - By: Mr. David McCarthy

Last Friday we were treated to a lecture on “the neuroscience of decision making” by research Professor Olav Krigolson of the University of Victoria. Biology and psychology classes were able to get an insight into Dr Krigolson’s ground-breaking work on the brain’s decision making systems in which he uses electroencephalograph or EEG machines to measure brain activity. These machines have become portable and less expensive in recent years, allowing him to demonstrate, live, their power to show brain activity in our students! 

The headsets he uses have also travelled to Tibet to investigate the effects of meditation on Tibetan monks’ ability to then play simple video games. Apparently meditation promotes decision making of all kinds. 

The future of this technology could be very exciting, enabling doctors, for example, to track recovery from concussions in patients and people to monitor their own levels of brain relaxation during the course of a day. Students really appreciated Dr Krigolson’s humor and the way he applied the information to decision making in all kinds of areas from sports to tough ethical dilemmas. 

Olav taught physics and coached basketball at Brentwood for two years before going to teach in the UK and then taking his doctorate in cognitive neuroscience. His work spans several areas at the university including economics where he is very involved in the ‘human factor’ behind decision making in the stock market and business. He is a researcher in the Centre for Biomedical Research and Director of the Neuroeducation Network, the principle investigator for the Neuroeconomics Laboratory and also a Benjamin Meeker Fellow at Bristol University. We look forward to more collaboration with Dr Krigolson’s team in the near future.

Mr. David McCarthy

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