The brain rules in a loss of money in a similar way as in the perception of pain and suffering. Photo: Wikipedia
Reading aloud The loss of money triggers reactions in the brain, as they also occur in anxiety and physical pain. This is what British researchers found out when they engaged volunteers with gambling and observed the subjects' brain activity. The scientists observed 24 test takers who gambled with a chance of winning cash. They found that the subjects could assess gradually, whether they are more likely to win or lose. The images of brain activity using a magnetic resonance tomograph showed that this learning process takes place in the so-called striatum, a brain region that coordinates sensory impressions and movement behavior.

Based on past experience, the brain learns to assess chances of winning and to regulate behavior accordingly, the scientists say. In the process, the brain reacts differently to a potential financial loss in the event of a threatening financial loss. Seymour and his colleagues found that the loss of money affects the brain in a similar way to the perception of pain and suffering. The brain can therefore predict impending pain and control behavior accordingly, to prevent the pain in this way, the scientists believe.

"Just as nobody wants to lose money, nobody wants to experience pain and suffering. That's why it makes sense to combine the mechanism to ward off these experiences, "explains Seymour. The findings of the study may help to better understand the causes of gambling addiction, researchers hope.

Ben Seymour (University College, London) et al .: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 27, 3 May 2007 ddp / Claudia Hilbert ad


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