Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Scientists get a good look at betting and the brain 科學家細究賭博與大腦的關係

A gambler plays a slot machine in Atlantic City in the US state of New Jersey.
美國新澤西州大西洋城的一名賭客正在玩吃角子老虎機。 (照片:法新社)


US researchers have identified the part of the brain that is stimulated by making wagers, which they say could be helpful in understanding and treating gambling addictions and certain mental health disorders.

In a new study led by researchers from the California Institute of Technology, people were asked to choose two cards from a deck and bet one dollar on whether the first or second card would be a higher number.

At the same time, each subject's brain activity was watched using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show which region was stimulated by risk-taking and the anticipation of a reward.

The study also found a sort of gambling zone in the brain, controlled by dopamine, which also plays a role in learning and motivation.

The study could help scientists understand behaviors such as gambling addiction — as well as mental illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — by helping them to understand which parts of the brain are not working properly.

For example, according to the researchers, when a person with bipolar disorder is experiencing the manic phase (a time when that person is extremely excited, anxious and active), he or she might take big risks because they don't understand how big the risks are. It's also possible that the person might understand the risk, and the problem is with their learning, attentional or working memory or the way their brain makes decisions. Researchers hope this study will help them understand this and other mental health issues. (AFP)




Today's Words 今天單字

1. identify v.t.

確認 (que4 ren4) ,發現 (fa1 xian4)

例: The witness had to identify the suspect in court.


2. stimulate v.t.

刺激 (ci4 ji1)

例: Some scientists think classical music can stimulate the brain.


3. wager n.

賭博 (du3 bo2)

例: Jill and Penny have made a casual wager on which team will win.


4. anticipation n.

期望 (qi2 wang4)

例: The anticipation of a date with someone you like is almost as much fun as the date itself.






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