Navigation Links
To bet or not to bet: How the brain learns to estimate risk
Date:3/12/2008

This release is available in French.

Researchers from EPFL and Caltech have made an important neurobiological discovery of how humans learn to predict risk. The research, appearing in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, will shed light on why certain kinds of risk, notably financial risk, are often underestimated, and whether abnormal behavior such as addiction (e.g. to gambling or drugs) could be caused by an erroneous evaluation of risk.

Planning entails making predictions. In an uncertain environment, however, our predictions often don't pan out. And erroneous prediction of risk often leads to unusual behaviour: euphoria or excessive gambling when risk is underestimated, and panic attacks or depression when we predict that things are riskier than they really are. To understand these anomalous reactions to uncertain situations, we need to look to the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie how we learn to predict risk. Surprisingly little research has been done in this topic, and we do not yet know precisely how the brain is involved in our estimation of risk.

Using functional imaging in a simple gambling task in which risk was constantly changed, the researchers discovered that an early activation of the anterior insula of the brain was associated with mistakes in predicting risk. The time course of the activation also indicated a role in rapid updating, suggesting that this area is involved in how we learn to modify our risk predictions. The finding was particularly interesting, notes lead author and EPFL professor Peter Bossaerts, because the anterior insula is the locus of where we integrate and process emotions.

"This represents an important advance in our understanding of the neurological underpinnings of risk, in analogy with an earlier discovery of a signal for forecast error in the dopaminergic system," says Bossaerts, "and indicates that we need to update our understanding of the neural basis of reward anticipation in uncertain conditions to include risk assessment."

Contrary to what Descartes held dear, the finding that risk prediction and processing of emotions are related suggests that emotions may be intimately involved in rational decision making -- they may help us to correctly assess risk in an uncertain world.


'/>"/>

Contact: Peter Bossaerts
peter.bossaerts@epfl.ch
41-216-930-081
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Post brain injury: New nerve cells originate from neural stem cells
2. Which came first, social dominance or big brains? Wasps may tell
3. Chicago neuroscientist contributes to book on brains and baseball
4. Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Data From Cotara(R) Brain Cancer Trials
5. Injection of human umbilical cord blood helps the aging brain
6. Brain Disease Causes More Vision Loss in Blacks
7. Potential Brain Cancer Drug for Children May Damage Bones
8. Potential brain cancer drug for children may damage bones
9. New Drug for Brain Cancer Too Dangerous for Pediatric Patients
10. Pain in fibromyalgia is linked to changes in brain molecule
11. National Museum of Health and Medicine hosts Brain Awareness Week 2008
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online details ... to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only the ... and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) notes ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary ... Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support its work ... marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business ... to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the ... minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at ... Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Guerbet announced today that it has been ... Award . One of 12 suppliers to ... its support of Premier members through exceptional local customer ... commitment to lower costs. ... our outstanding customer service from Premier," says Massimo ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, ... Australia, Canada)" report to their offering. ... an essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical ... looks at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 The Biotechnology ... continues to present great opportunities to investors. Stock-Callers.com assesses ... Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON ), Vertex Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: ARNA ), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... stocks and receive your complimentary trade alerts at: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: