Reviewing Decision Making: from awareness to social decision making
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Decision making is a part of everyday life and is modulated by several factors. These factors include: gender, emotions, culture, development, and social influences. Each of these factors is described in this review. Two other aspects, that underlie decision making, are simulations and heuristic versus analytic processing of information. With every decision a prediction is made of the possible outcome of that decision, i.e. a simulation is made of possible future scenarios, which are based on past or future events. Via the theory of mind, the viewpoint of other individuals can also be simulated. Another important part of decision making is whether the decision occurs within or outside conscious awareness. Based on this dichotomy two systems are discussed: an analytic system 2 and a heuristic system 1. Whereas system 2 is conscious, time consuming and has a small capacity, system 1 is fast, unconscious and has a large capacity. In general, system 1 is the default process and is only inhibited by system 2 if an analytic intervention is required. This interaction between system 1 and system 2 is present throughout this review and the aforementioned influences on decision making are discussed with their possible implications on the two systems. Some neurological data for the system 1 and system 2 dichotomy are also presented. This review is concluded with a graph in which all the factors are merged in an attempt to illustrate the processes involved in decision making.