“Researchers from EPFL and Caltech have made an important neurobiological discovery of how humans learn to predict risk. The research, appearing in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, will shed light on why certain kinds of risk, notably financial risk, are often underestimated, and whether abnormal behavior such as addiction (e.g. to gambling or drugs) could be caused by an erroneous evaluation of risk.

Planning entails making predictions. In an uncertain environment, however, our predictions often don’t pan out. And erroneous prediction of risk often leads to unusual behaviour: euphoria or excessive gambling when risk is underestimated, and panic attacks or depression when we predict that things are riskier than they really are. To understand these anomalous reactions to uncertain situations, we need to look to the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie how we learn to predict risk. Surprisingly little research has been done in this topic, and we do not yet know precisely how the brain is involved in our estimation of risk.”

(via Medical New Today)

(Thanks Kaos829!)