Antoine Bechara

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Following damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, humans develop a defect in real-life decision-making, which contrasts with otherwise normal intellectual functions. Currently, there is no neuropsychological probe to detect in the laboratory, and the cognitive and neural mechanisms responsible for this defect have resisted explanation. Here, using a(More)
Here I argue that addicted people become unable to make drug-use choices on the basis of long-term outcome, and I propose a neural framework that explains this myopia for future consequences. I suggest that addiction is the product of an imbalance between two separate, but interacting, neural systems that control decision making: an impulsive, amygdala(More)
Deciding advantageously in a complex situation is thought to require overt reasoning on declarative knowledge, namely, on facts pertaining to premises, options for action, and outcomes of actions that embody the pertinent previous experience. An alternative possibility was investigated: that overt reasoning is preceded by a nonconscious biasing step that(More)
The somatic marker hypothesis provides a systems-level neuroanatomical and cognitive framework for decision making and the influence on it by emotion. The key idea of this hypothesis is that decision making is a process that is influenced by marker signals that arise in bioregulatory processes, including those that express themselves in emotions and(More)
On a gambling task that models real-life decisions, patients with bilateral lesions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VM) opt for choices that yield high immediate gains in spite of higher future losses. In this study, we addressed three possibilities that may account for this behaviour: (i) hypersensitivity to reward; (ii) insensitivity to punishment;(More)
In a series of [15O]PET experiments aimed at investigating the neural basis of emotion and feeling, 41 normal subjects recalled and re-experienced personal life episodes marked by sadness, happiness, anger or fear. We tested the hypothesis that the process of feeling emotions requires the participation of brain regions, such as the somatosensory cortices(More)
The somatic marker hypothesis proposes that decision-making is a process that depends on emotion. Studies have shown that damage of the ventromedial prefrontal (VMF) cortex precludes the ability to use somatic (emotional) signals that are necessary for guiding decisions in the advantageous direction. However, given the role of the amygdala in emotional(More)
Modern economic theory ignores the influence of emotions on decision-making. Emerging neuroscience evidence suggests that sound and rational decision making, in fact, depends on prior accurate emotional processing. The somatic marker hypothesis provides a systems-level neuroanatomical and cognitive framework for decision-making and its influence by emotion.(More)
A decision-making instrument known as the "gambling task" was used, which has been shown to be sensitive to the decision-making impairment of patients with bilateral lesions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VM). Three groups of subjects were tested, substance dependent individuals (SD) (n=41), normal controls (n=40), and VM patients (n=5). All SD met(More)
Most theories of choice assume that decisions derive from an assessment of the future outcomes of various options and alternatives through some type of cost-benefit analyses. The influence of emotions on decision-making is largely ignored. The studies of decision-making in neurological patients who can no longer process emotional information normally(More)