There exist hundreds of cultures, religions and ethnicities in the world. Though these may be very different from each other, every human being struggles to form and develop one’s identity. This lasting process may be called struggle because a person can spend one’s whole life creating an identity that will be eventually dramatically modified by an event or another’s point of view. I may define identity as the concept developed by an individual about oneself that evolves over the course of one’s life. This includes various life aspects: those one cannot control, like the origin or skin color, as well as important life choices, such as education, career, beliefs, etc. We all demonstrate parts of our personal identities outwardly through communication with other people, clothes we are wearing and behavior.
The very process of identity formation is complicated, has many components and is influenced by numerous factors. The choice of vocation, love and ideology, that are considered to be the three major pillars of identity, is able to modify physical, psychological, social, moral, ideological, and professional characteristics of a person. For example, identity formation of Nina , a 15 year old girl has started before adolescence. Her religious, political and occupational views have been constantly influenced by parents, peers, and society. However, at one moment , when a crisis decision had to be taken, an adolescent felt confused due to the identity diffusion and not being able to move forwards. At this point making choices is especially hard and important in order to find one’s own way. Nina wanted to become a teacher, as both of her parents were teachers. However, she was not sure, whether it was her own goal and interest, or was she influenced by the opinions of her parents. She felt perplexed and dissatisfied, however, after evaluating all of her options, Nina has made a decision on her own, which created the feeling of self-acceptance, commitment to a selected profession and solid self-definition.
Whether we realize it or not, we are making decisions every day. Some of these are minor, others change our lives. Some of these are pretty obvious, others are difficult to make. Decision-making can be tiring, especially when there are numerous options to choose from. Though it may seem that having lots of choices is inherently more attractive, when it comes to actually selecting something from a large variety of options, one may feel paralyzed and unable to decide. The abundance of choices may become overwhelming and tiring, as one has to compare all possible options, properties and consequences of every choice.
Though decision-making is an extremely complex brain process, we are usually unaware of it. Human brain appears wired in a way that enables people to make the best decisions possible with analyzing available information. When an individual is in the process of decision-making there are complex and rapid probability calculations occurring in different areas of the brain. The frontal lobe is reaching for hippocampus, which is the coordinator of the memory, in an attempt to analyze previous memories and experiences, and to find the right solution.
Though researchers have already learned a lot about the brain and its role in decision-making, there is still much to be discovered about how and why we make choices, one of the most essential and complex behaviors of a human being.