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Brain Structure Could Predict Human's Risk Taking Behavior

Update Date: Sep 10, 2014 02:40 PM EDT
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Few people prefer not to take risks, while some are just known for taking risky decisions. Researchers have now found that the volume of parietal cortex in the brain could predict where people fall on the risk-taking spectrum, according to new study. 

Researchers found that those with larger volume in particular part of the parietal cortex were willing to take more risks than those with less volume in this part of the brain. 

"Based on our findings, we could, in principle, use millions of existing medical brains scans to assess risk attitudes in populations," said lead researcher Ifat Levy, assistant professor in comparative medicine and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, in the press release. "It could also help us explain differences in risk attitudes based in part on structural brain differences."

However, researchers cautioned that the results do not speak to causality. "We don't know if structural changes lead to behavioral changes or vice-versa," she said.

"It could be that this thinning explains the behavioral changes; we are now testing that possibility," said Levy, who also notes that more studies in wider populations are needed, the press release added.

Findings of the study were published in the Sept. 10 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

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