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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) ... a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed ... and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has released ... understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints a picture ... Many have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says that is ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From ... every danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the ... is a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Cheng, are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. ... a serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ), one ... an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides optimal ... controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)...   Divoti USA will engrave and process ... of the latest FDA requirements, which stipulates new criteria regarding medical ... need of Medical ID jewelry such as Medical ID Bracelets, can ... in terms of the new FDA requirements . ... Divoti offers this dark mark fiber laser ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Caris Life Sciences ® , a leading ... of precision medicine, today announced that St. Jude Medical ... Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 th member. Through ... Crosson Cancer Institute will help develop standards of care ... profiling, making cancer treatment more precise and effective. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) ... — a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. ... transform technology into a clinical solution to support the improvement of ... Innovative Design ... Mobile Wireless Solution ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: