Brain Scanner Record Reaction to Rewards Like Other Addictive Substances Addictive Reaction Makes People More Prone to Make Risky Decisions
Topic: How reward show on a brain scanner
Researchers: Brian Knutson (Associate Professor ofPsychology & Neuroscience,
Stanford University, US), Charles M. Adams, Grace W. Fong, and Daniel Hommer (M.D.), Camelia M. Kuhnen (Associate Professor of Finance
Kellog School of Management Northwestern University, US,).
Published By: Journal of Neuroscience
Formal Reference: Brian Knutson, Charles M. Adams, Grace W. Fong, and Daniel Hommer, “Anticipation of increasing Monetary Reward Selectively Recruits Nucleus Accumbens”, Journal of Neuroscience 21 (2001);
Brian Kuhnen, Camelia M. Kuhnen, “The Neural Basis of Financial Risk
Taking”, Neuron 47 (September 2005), 763-770
Main Conclusion: Monetary rewards trigger brain activity similar to those triggered by addictive substances.
The brain activity triggered by monetary rewards seems to predict risky decisions.
Description of Experiment
a. Eight healthy volunteers placed into a brain scanner (fMRI) and played a game that involved the prospects of either winning or losing money (highest reward level was $5).
b. When participants knew they had a chance of winning, activation occurred (a burst of a brain chemical dopamine surged) in the part of the brain called Nucleus Accumbens. The same process (i.e. this particular brain chemical surging to this particular part of the brain) is what happens in addiction.
c. No such reaction was recorded in the prospects of losing money.
d. A following experiment showed that activation in the Nucleus Accumbens seems to predict both risky choices and risk-seeking mistakes.
Monetary rewards trigger brain activity similar to addictive substances like drugs and nicotine.
The brain activity triggered by monetary rewards seems to predict more risky decisions.