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Automatic decision-making: Neural firing and response


In contrast with conscious decision-making, there are numerous subconscious decisions that we make without thinking about them. Some are biological and are made by different parts of our body to keep it alive and functioning normally. Others are a result of repetition and training that we can then do without thinking about them. The mathematics of conscious decisions with the Analytic Hierarchy and Network Processes is discrete, and has been discussed in the first three parts published on the subject. The mathematics of subconscious decisions is continuous. Here, we generalize the discrete mathematics of conscious decisions to the continuous case and develop it in some depth to apply to the synthesis of firings in the brain.

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Thomas L. Saaty holds the Chair of University Professor, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, and obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University. Before that he was a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for ten years. Prior to that he spent seven years at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the State Department in Washington, DC, that carried out the arms reduction negotiations with the Soviets in Geneva. His current research interests include decision-making, planning, conflict resolution and synthesis in the brain. As a result of his search for an effective means to deal with weapons tradeoffs at the Disarmament Agency and, more generally, with decision-making and resource allocation, Professor Saaty developed The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and its generalization to dependence and feedback, the Analytic Network Process (ANP). He is co-developer of the software Expert Choice and of the software Super Decisions for decisions with dependence and feedback. He has authored or co-authored twelve books on the AHP/ANP. Professor Saaty has also written a number of other books that embrace a variety of topics, including Modern Nonlinear Equations, Nonlinear Mathematics, Graph Theory, The Four Color Problem, Behavioral Mathematics, Queuing Theory, Optimization in Integers, Embracing the Future and The Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of How It Works. His most recent book is Creative Thinking, Problem Solving & Decision Making. The book is a rich collection of ideas, incorporating research by a growing body of researchers and practitioners, profiles of creative people, projects and products, theory, philosophy, physics and metaphysics...all explained with a liberal dose of humor. He has published more than 300 refereed articles in a wide variety of professional journals. He has been on the editorial boards of Mathematical Reviews, Operations Research, Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, Mathematical and Computer Modeling, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Applied Mathematics Letters, and several others. He also served as consultant to many corporations and government.

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Saaty, T.L. Automatic decision-making: Neural firing and response. J. Syst. Sci. Syst. Eng. 13, 385–404 (2004).

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  • Decision-making
  • automatic decisions
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • analytic network process
  • neural firing
  • compatibility index