Eli5 How does the brain make a decision when both choices are exactly same


When two things have exactly the same advantages and exactly the same disadvantages , how does the brain at the very last moment decide which one to choose ?

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Then that isn’t a decision. A decision inherently is choice, right?

If your choice is between X and X… then I guess you pick X.

Okay, which instance of X? If X is a real object, then there is probably still a preference to one or the other; maybe your brain wants you to pick the thing on the right because you are right-handed. Or a random neuron path is slightly shorter and thus faster, winning out.

If X is completely abstract, like a thought, it only comes down to neurons again, but it will be very random.

Well what would happen would be called decision paralysis.

What often happens is that when faced with two apparently equal decisions (few things are truly equal, but simply being very close can cause it too) or even decisions that simply have too many options, or too many unknowns, the natural tendency is to wait and/or continue to seek out more information to be able to make that decision. Often making no decision is its own third choice and the opportunity passes for better or worse. Sometimes some other event happens while waiting and the decision is made for you.

Alternatively under pressure a person will make a snap choice one way or another essentially at random, not based on the actual impact, or simply picking whichever they were thinking of more at that instant.

You can also absolutely train yourself to just make a decision arbitrarily.

Humans have biasses that break ties.

Asked to look through a hole people have a favorite eye they use. Walking around an obstacle both paths may be fine but most have a reliable bias about the side they pick. Hence those that get lost tend to walk in large circles if not knowing about this.

It could be something as simple as if the two decisions are positioned next to each other. Then you will probably choose the decision that lies on the side that you interpret as the correct side. Or it could be the name, or the time they were presented, etc. There will always be small differences that cause the brain to choose one over the other unless you chose rationally. Then you might be stuck not making a decision at all. Sometimes these small differences even make a larger impact than the important differences. A big part of marketing is to find these small details and utilize them to make something less valuable seem like the better alternative.