Why do our brains make more mistakes when we act quickly?

A new study demonstrates how the brain follows Ben Franklin’s famous dictum, “Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.”

The research – conducted by Research Assistant Professor Richard Heitz and Jeffrey Schall, Ingram Professor of Neuroscience, at Vanderbilt University – has found that the brain actually switches into a special mode when pushed to make rapid decisions.

The study was published Nov. 7 in the journal Neuron.

“This is a question that is very basic to our experience as human beings, and something that we encounter on a daily basis,” Heitz, who designed and carried out the study, said. “If we can understand how our brain changes when we are pushed to respond faster, we have gone a long way toward understanding the decision-making process in general.”

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November 12, 2012