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Escritos de Psicología (Internet)

versión On-line ISSN 1989-3809versión impresa ISSN 1138-2635


MORANDIN-AHUERMA, Fabio. The somatic marker hypothesis and the neurobiology of decisions. Escritos de Psicología [online]. 2019, vol.12, n.1, pp.20-29.  Epub 02-Dic-2019. ISSN 1989-3809.

The somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) has been one of the most influential theories in the neurosciences since the early 1990s, when it was formulated by Antonio Damasio in his book Descartes’ Error (1994). Since then, various studies, for and against, have been written without a verdict. Firstly, this study provides a comprehensive explanation of the SMH. Secondly, it provides a detailed assessment of the relevance of the amygdala in the process of making unconscious decisions. In contrast, we cite some results that suggest that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex would be involved in our rational decisions. Finally, we review some of the criticism of the SMH that was based on the mixed results obtained in the Iowa Gambling Task. We suggest that the main value of the SMH is that it resolves the brain-body duality problem. However, the hypothesis by itself is insufficient to claim that the decision-making process is mainly based on our feelings. Although the decision-making process uses unconscious somatosensory responses, it is a more complex physical-emotional-rational process, which still lacks sufficient evidence to be located.

Palabras clave : Damasio; somatic marker hypothesis; neurobiology of decisions; emotions; brain-body problem.

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