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 Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>