Behavioral neuroscience, applied neural plasticity, choice behavior, and

memory systems

Why do we do what we do?


Random actions? 

Free will?

Or do we make decisions based upon previous experiences?

Note I didn’t say based upon reason or logic! That we so often DON’T use (and sometimes go against) reason or logic to make decisions or decide which actions to perform is one of the most important aspects, and one that is often overlooked.

Our behavior is determined by our memory systems, and which system is in control at any given point in time.

Ever been driving somewhere, start thinking about some topic, and find you have made a habitual turn on some familiar street toward some other usual destination? Perfect example of the habitual and rigid memory system over riding the (currently preoccupied) adaptable flexible system, and something that happens to everyone.

Now what if that choice is going home, or having ‘just one more drink’? Or between going to work, or injecting/snorting/smoking some drug? (See my other site: neuralplasticity.org)

We all know people who are ‘creatures of habit’ and others who are highly creative, innovative, etc that couldn’t do things the same way twice if they had to.

Are these people’s brains wired different fundamentally, or are they just showing a bias for which system controls their behavior? A bias that runs through a continuum from “too flexible” to “too habitual”? From ADHD to OCD?

These are the problems and issues that fascinate me.