Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 12:35PM
Drew Wolfe

In Lab Turned Casino, Gambling Monkeys Help Scientists Find Risk-Taking Brain Area

"Experiments with two gambling monkeys have revealed a small area in the brain that plays a big role in risky decisions."

"When researchers inactivated this region in the prefrontal cortex, the rhesus monkeys became less inclined to choose a long shot over a sure thing, the team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology."

"'They did not like the gambles anymore,' says Veit Stuphorn, an author of the study and an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University."

The finding in our fellow primates adds to the evidence that human brains are capable of constantly adjusting our willingness to take risks, depending on factors such as what's at stake.

"'For a long time, people thought that this is like a personality trait, that some people are risk-takers and others are not,' Stuphorn says. But recent research has shown that the same person who is very cautious about personal investments may be an avid bungee jumper."


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