Friday, January 23, 2009

Predicting risk taking

From Gianotti et al., who performed EEG measurements on forty right-handed female students at the Univ. of Zurich:
Human risk taking is characterized by a large amount of individual heterogeneity. In this study, we applied resting-state electroencephalography, which captures stable individual differences in neural activity, before subjects performed a risk-taking task. Using a source-localization technique, we found that the baseline cortical activity in the right prefrontal cortex predicts individual risk-taking behavior. Individuals with higher baseline cortical activity in this brain area display more risk aversion than do other individuals. This finding demonstrates that neural characteristics that are stable over time can predict a highly complex behavior such as risk-taking behavior and furthermore suggests that hypoactivity in the right prefrontal cortex might serve as a dispositional indicator of lower regulatory abilities, which is expressed in greater risk-taking behavior.

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