Monday, November 26, 2012

How Much Choice Do You Really Have?

In July of this year, the New York Times published an interesting article titled, "Did Your Brain Make You Do It?"

As a neurofeedback trainer, I'm always interested in research and speculation about the brain. This is a food for thought article as well.

The authors, John Monterosso and Barry Schwartz, make interesting points and raise important questions. Here are a few.
  • The frontal lobes, where critical judgement largely resides, are not yet fully developed in adolescents. We've probably all known good kids who have made bad decisions.
  • Chemical and other biological factors affect our choices. How do we weigh these in and not excuse everyone for bad behavior?
  • Thinking an action is either psychologically caused or biologically caused is not correct. They aren't separate.
As a psychotherapist it's been clear to me for years that people can't always control their reactions. But we still need to hold ourselves accountable for our actions in the world. It's not straightforward. It's complex.

I've also seen over and over the way neurofeedback can decrease maladaptive reactivity. When that happens, my clients naturally make better choices for themselves and others.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
New York Neurofeedback

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