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Battle in the brain predicts risky behaviour

 

 
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Pleasure and anxiety centres decide when a safe bet beats a dicey one. Deciding between a risky financial investment and a safe one sets two parts of the brain into competition, say researchers in California. As centres for pleasure and anxiety battle it out, a simple brain scan of the two can actually predict what […]

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Posted September 7, 2005 by thomasr

 
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Pleasure and anxiety centres decide when a safe bet beats a dicey one.

Deciding between a risky financial investment and a safe one sets two parts of the brain into competition, say researchers in California.

As centres for pleasure and anxiety battle it out, a simple brain scan of the two can actually predict what a person will chose to do a few seconds before they do it: when joy beats worry in our brain, a risky decision is made.

Studies of how the mind handles risky behaviour have highlighted a number of neural Easy money? Our brain switches over from one circuit to another when we gear up to take a risk hotspots. One is a peanut-sized region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is loaded with the molecule dopamine and becomes active in anticipation of pleasure. The nucleus accumbens is known to play a role in the addictive affect of drugs.

Another region, known as the anterior insula, is stimulated in anticipation of a bad sensation. This area lights up in those predicting the onset of physical pain, and in generally anxious individuals.

Neuroscientist Brian Knutson of Stanford University and his colleague Camelia Kuhnen sought to compare how these two brain regions interact by asking 20 volunteers to play an investment game for a cash reward.

Full Text at Nature


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One Comment


  1.  
    patricia lucas

    generic ambien is awful i take it at 8pm and amm still awake @ 3am





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