urthermore, there was a marked difference in behaviour between participants. Some people adopted a more rational approach and gambled more equally and consistently under both frames, while others showed a real aversion to risk in the "keep" frame while at the same time displaying high risk-seeking behaviour in the "lose" frame.
Brain imaging revealed that the amygdala, a region thought to control our emotions and mediate the 'fight or flight' reaction, underpinned this bias in the decision process. Moreover, the UCL study revealed that people with more rational behaviour had greater brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region known to be involved in higher-order executive processes, suggesting that their brains are better able to incorporate their emotions into a more balanced reasoning process.
Mr Benedetto de Martino, of the UCL Institute of Neurology, says: "It is well known that human choices are affected by the way in which a question is phrased. For example, saying an operation carries an 80 per cent survival rate may trigger a different response compared to saying that an operation has a 20 per cent chance of dying from it, even though they offer exactly the same degree of risk.
"Our study provides neurobiological evidence that an amygdala-based emotional system underpins this biasing of human decisions. Moreover, we found that people are rational, or irrational, to widely differing amounts. Interestingly, the amygdala was active across all participants, regardless of whether they behaved rationally or irrationally, suggesting that everyone experiences an emotional reaction when faced with such choices. However, we found that more rational individuals had greater activation in their orbitofrontal cortex (a region of prefrontal cortex) suggesting that rational individuals are able to better manage or perhaps override their emotional responses."
(Source : Eurekalrt)
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