Navigation Links
Caltech neuroscientists discover brain area responsible for fear of losing money
Date:2/8/2010

PASADENA, Calif.Neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and their colleagues have tied the human aversion to losing money to a specific structure in the brainthe amygdala.

The finding, described in the latest online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), offers insight into economic behavior, and also into the role of the brain's amygdalae, two almond-shaped clusters of tissue located in the medial temporal lobes. The amygdala registers rapid emotional reactions and is implicated in depression, anxiety, and autism.

The research team that made these findings consists of Benedetto de Martino, a Caltech visiting researcher from University College London and first author on the study; Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics; and Ralph Adolphs, the Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology.

The study involved an examination of two patients whose amygdalae had been destroyed due to a very rare genetic disease; those patients, along with individuals without amygdala damage, volunteered to participate in a simple "experimental economics task."

In the task, the subjects were asked whether or not they were willing to accept a variety of monetary gambles, each with a different possible gain or loss. For example, participants were asked whether they would take a gamble in which there was an equal probability they'd win $20 or lose $5 (a risk most people will choose to accept) and if they would take a 50/50 gamble to win $20 or lose $20 (a risk most people will not choose to accept). They were also asked if they'd take a 50/50 gamble on winning $20 or losing $15a risk most people will reject, "even though the net expected outcome is positive," Adolphs says.

Both of the amygdala-damaged patients took risky gambles much more often than subjects of the same age and education who had no amygdala damage. In fact, the first group showed no aversion to monetary loss whatsoever, in sharp contrast to the control subjects.

"Monetary-loss aversion has been studied in behavioral economics for some time, but this is the first time that patients have been reported who lack it entirely," says de Martino.

"We think this shows that the amygdala is critical for triggering a sense of caution toward making gambles in which you might lose," explains Camerer. This function of the amygdala, he says, may be similar to its role in fear and anxiety.

"Loss aversion has been observed in many economic studies, from monkeys trading tokens for food to people on high-stakes game shows," he adds, "but this is the first clear evidence of a special brain structure that is responsible for fear of such losses."

The work in the paper, "Amygdala damage eliminates monetary loss aversion," was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Human Frontier Science Program, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health, the Simons Foundation, and a Global Center of Excellence grant from the Japanese government.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathy Svitil
ksvitil@caltech.edu
626-395-8022
California Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UNC, Caltech research finds further evidence for genetic contribution to autism
2. Caltech researchers find dual-use sexual attraction and population-control chemicals in nematodes
3. Caltech scientists awarded $20 million to Power the Planet
4. Caltech neurobiologists discover individuals who hear movement
5. Caltech engineers build mini drug-producing biofactories in yeast
6. Caltech researchers awarded $10M for molecular programming project
7. Caltech scientists create DNA tubes with programmable sizes for nanoscale manufacturing
8. Caltech biologists spy on the secret inner life of a cell
9. Caltech scientists engineer supersensitive receptor, gain better understanding of dopamine system
10. Caltech engineers build firast-ever multi-input plug-and-play synthetic RNA device
11. Caltech geobiologists discover unique magnetic death star fossil
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/24/2016)... -- Cercacor today introduced Ember TM Sport Premium ... measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, Perfusion Index, ... approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, using only ... key data about their bodies to help monitor these ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When hemoglobin and ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... corrections and monitoring, announced today that it has offered ... an independent technology judge determine who has the largest ... telephone calling platform, and the best customer service. ... of what we do – which clearly is not ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... clinical company developing therapeutics focused on the gut ... public offering of 25,000,000 shares of its common ... its common stock at a price to the ... gross proceeds to Synthetic Biologics from the offering, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, ... ... (ETC), a consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies dedicated to collaboratively developing ... companies interested in supplying a vendor-supported, portable online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 The ... 2021, growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period ... hospitals and diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of ... ... report on global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016  GenomOncology today announced the appointment of ... Affairs.  Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical content ... knowledge-enabled platform. The GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists with ... and clinical decision support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), a leading ... the addition of its newest plasma collection center located ... . The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility officially opened ... brings the total number of BPC,s plasma collection centers ... BPC,s Chief Executive Officer said "We are pleased to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: