By looking at the brain as a goal-seeking system, independent of our ideas of values and the meaning of life, we can arrive at a very objective understanding of why people do what they do.  This includes decisions having to do with how we feel, and how we feel about how we feel.  Our work in emotional decision-making moves along these lines, and reveals brain imaging methods to explore these concepts.  The field of formal Neuroeconomics is also growing, for example:

neuroeconomics course

We view the brain as a goal-seeking system that recognizes patterns, and attempts to make decisions to ensure survival, well-being, and positive affect.  When goals are confounded or subverted, then we see suboptimal, even self-destructive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Neurofeedback is an important way to re-orient the brain, but giving it new goals, e.g. “change your electrical patterns in this way.”  Without knowing why, the brain will seek the new goals, the new setpoint, and a new set of attractors in its dynamic repertoire.


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