Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why losing money may be more painful than you think

02.05.2007
Losing money may be intrinsically linked with fear and pain in the brain, scientists have discovered. In a Wellcome Trust study published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have shown that during a gambling task, losing money activated an area of the brain involved in responding to fear and pain.

"Many everyday financial decisions, such as playing the lottery or investing money are gambles in some form or another, and most of these gambles involve the chances of both gaining and losing money," says Dr Ben Seymour from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London), who led the study. "Although we already know an impressive amount about how the brain learns to predict financial gains, until now, we have known little about how we deal with losing money."

The researchers studied twenty four healthy subjects as they played a gambling game to win money and recorded the activity in the brain throughout the game using an fMRI brain scanner to look for subtle changes in brain activity. They found that the subjects were accurately learning to predict when there was a chance of winning or losing money, and that this learning appeared to occur in a region located deep within the brain, called the striatum.

Being able to make predictions about rewards and punishments is important, since it allows us to take appropriate action early to avoid punishments or to benefit from rewards. This ability is guided by a "prediction error", whereby the brain learns to make predictions based on previous mistakes .The researchers have shown that there appears to be a separate response when the prediction results in a financial loss, as opposed to financial gains,.

... more about:
»Financial »gamble »prediction »reward

The researchers found surprising similarities between the response to financial losses and a system that they had previously identified for responding to pain, which they believe allows the brain to predict imminent harm and allow immediate defensive action to be taken.

"Clearly, none of us want to lose money in the same way that none of us want to experience pain," says Dr Seymour. "It would make sense that the way that we learn to predict and hence avoid both of them should be linked."

The reward and defensive systems relating to financial loss were very similar to motivational systems previously identified in rats, which suggests they have hijacked an evolutionarily old system connected to avoiding fear and pain.

"This provides a sort of biological justification for the popular concept of ‘financial pain’," says Dr Seymour.

Understanding how the brain systems for learning to predict financial losses and gains interact may provide important insights into why some people gamble more than others, and why some become addicted to it, Dr Seymour added.

Craig Brierley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

Further reports about: Financial gamble prediction reward

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception
25.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik

nachricht Studying a catalyst for blood cancers
25.04.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>