Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Science of Risk-Taking

What do we think of when we think of risks - being daring, entrepreneurial, innovative, or more like ADHD, self-destructive, and impulsive? This paper looks at cognitive processes involved while college students (remember - they're still supposed to be a little 'hypofrontal') decide to take risks.

The interesting points here are that decision-making is different depending on whether options are presented negatively or positively. If both options appear positive- then most choose quickly and pick low-risk. In fact, much more brain work is needed to choose a high risk choice when both things look good. Not much difference is seen when when low- and high-risk choices are given (maybe fatalistic?)
-kind of a "Who cares?" because they're both bad.

So maybe when looking at rosy options, we may be more likely to 'play it safe' and go for a simple good. When things look bad anyway, we may be more likely to 'go for broke.' This study also suggests that somewhat paradoxically, sometimes 'risky choices' can occur as the result of 'more thought' rather than less.

fMRI and Risky Decision Making

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