As many of you know, I have struggled with decision making my whole life. It is quite difficult for me to decide even the simplest thing without first weighing out the pros, cons, and consequences of any given choice. Gladwell talks about the research of a neurologist named Antonio Damasio who studied patients with damage to a part of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which lies behind the nose.
"The ventromedial area plays a critical role in decision making. It works out contingencies and relationships and sorts through the mountain of information we get from the outside world, prioritizing it and putting flags on things that demand our immediate attention. People with damage to their ventromedial area are perfectly rational. They can be highly intelligent and functional, but they lack judgment."That pretty much sums me up! Highly intelligent (j/k!), mostly functional, rational, etc. So the reason why I have to look at every menu item before making a selection or why it takes me hours (or days) to play a game of chess (think of all the options and consequences associated with each move!) is simply because I am brain damaged!