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Gambling rats reveal afferent neuron which may control risk-taking behavior

Written on July 14, 2016   By   in Uncategorized

Although the research doesn’t describe why some individuals are more likely to take risks than others, it reveals the neural systems behind the behavior.


A tiny group of nerve cells deep in the brain might control risk-taking behaviour, according to a brand-new research study. The discovery in experiments on rats could be connected to both the rural urge for security and the gambles of merchant lenders in the City.

The mechanism at work is a length of neural circuitry that links the deep brain to a region called the nucleus accumbens and secretes the chemical agent dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, attention and memory.

The very same system of nerve provides the chemical to 2 sets of dopamine receptors. One of these is linked to sites playing safe gambling, the other to risk-taking behaviour.

Human beings and rats have similar brain structures included. And we have found that a drug understood to enhance risk choice in people had the same result in rats. Every indicator is that these findings are appropriate to people, stated Karl Deisseroth, a psychiatrist and bioengineer at Stanford University in California.

He and associates report in Nature that they offered lab rats a choice of rewards. The rats that pressed one lever found out that they would constantly get a predictable dose of sweet water.

Two-thirds of the rats repeatedly selected the routine pay packet variation of benefit. One-third seemed to prefer to play the freelance or casino lever. And simply sometimes, the safe-playing rodents would take a gamble and the receptor cells related to gambling would brighten your Zodiac online casino play. The rats who were regular gamblers, however, carried on taking dangers.

The scientists then found that laser light pulses could fire up the safe system and momentarily change the behaviour of the risk-seekers. They likewise found that a drug called pramipexole, delivered directly to the same region of the rat brain, might turn the safe-playing rats into gamblers. Pramipexole, recommended for Parkinson’s disease, has been linked to zodiac casino gambling dependency in people.

There is a long history of research study into risk-taking, in mammals, birds, pests, teenagers and investors; this has even led to a brand-new science called neuroeconomics. The decision to play safe or gamble seems to have evolutionary significance in all types of animal life. The most recent research study does not, and cannot, explain why sometimes some individuals are most likely to take a gamble or play safe. But it determines the mechanisms at work.

Dangerous behaviour has its minutes where it’s valuable, Professor Deisseroth said. As a species, we wouldn’t have come as far as we have without it.