How do Somatic Markers Feature in Decision Making?

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Bartol, Jordan; Linquist, Stefan
preprint description
Several recent criticisms of the somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) identify multiple ambiguities in the way it has been formulated by its chief proponents. Here we provide evidence that this hypothesis has also been interpreted in various different ways by the scientific community. Our diagnosis of this problem is that SMH lacks an adequate computational-level account of practical decision making. Such an account is necessary for drawing meaningful links between neurological- and psychological-level data. The paper concludes by providing a simple, five-step model of practical decision making. Recasting SMH in terms of this model generates more precise and empirically tractable computational-level hypotheses about the various ways that somatic markers might influence practical decisions.