Thomas – Mr. Safety
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Thomas. I am in charge of safety and I help you use good judgment, make good decisions and process conditions for rewards.
Samantha and I are cousins and we are spending the holidays together. I got her a book on kitties, because she just got a new one and named her Ruby.
I have a job helping at the school where Amanda teaches. I am a crossing guard and my job is to get the children safely across the street before and after school.
My favorite activities are to play golf with Gerald and Sally, to play marble games, and to ride my bike with George.
I love to play sports, especially soccer. I am the goal tender and am very happy when I get to kick the ball really far down the field.
I am a scout and in the same troop as Gerald. We just finished making our pine derby cars and I cannot wait to race them to see who wins.
I have a pet turtle named Herman. He is really slow, but really sweet. He loves to eat green beans and berries. I need to make sure he has enough water every day.
I have to get ready for our scout meeting. Have a nice day.”
Good decision-making, good judgment and rewards processing involve being in touch with our emotions, recalling memories of past actions and decisions, as well as tapping into a conditioned value system.
When you decide whether to climb a tree and look at the branch to measure its width against your arm to see if it will hold you, you are using good judgment.
When you notice that it is getting dark outside and head back home you are making good decisions.
When you eat a really good dinner BEFORE you take a piece of candy, you are processing when to get a reward.
When we use good judgment, make decisions or process rewards, we are utilizing several different and interwoven areas of the brain. This is a highly complex and relatively new area of neuroscience. The findings are connected with the research being conducted in the areas of emotions as well as behavior therapies.
As the brain is very adaptive, this area of study will continue for some time.
A wide range of brain regions including the orbital frontal cortex (OFC)/ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus, and
superior temporal gyrus, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), basal ganglia and dopamine neurons are involved in decision-making, judgment basis and rewards processing.