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)

PHOTO: AFP

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)

美國科學家已發現人腦中對賭博刺激會產生反應的區域,他們表示,這項發現可能有助於了解及治療賭癮和某些心理疾病。

一項由加州理工學院研究人員所帶領的新研究中,受試者被要求從一副撲克牌中選兩張牌,然後拿出一美元賭哪一張牌的數字大。

同時,研究人員利用「核磁共振造影」監測每位受試者的腦部活動,看大腦哪個區域對冒險行為和期待獎賞的刺激產生反應。

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.

(那名目擊者得在法庭上指認嫌犯。)

2. stimulate v.t.

刺激 (ci4 ji1)

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

(部份科學家認為古典音樂能刺激大腦。)

3. wager n.

賭博 (du3 bo2)

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

(吉兒和潘妮臨時起意要賭哪一隊會獲勝。)

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.

(期待與心儀對象約會的樂趣和約會本身差不多。)


這項研究也發現,人腦中有一塊受神經傳導素多巴胺控制的賭博區,多巴胺在學習和動機方面也扮演重要角色。

藉由幫助科學家們了解大腦哪些區域運作不正常,這項研究有助於他們進一步認識賭癮這類行為及包括精神分裂、躁鬱症在內的心理疾病。

例如,據研究人員表示,處於躁期的精神分裂者(患者極度興奮、不安且活躍的時期)可能會因為錯估風險而作出非常冒險的決定。還有一種可能就是精神分裂者其實明白風險所在,只是他們的學習、注意力、工作記憶,又或者是大腦作決定的過程中出現了問題。研究人員希望這項研究能幫助他們了解這種症狀及其他心理疾病。

(法新社/翻譯:林倩如)

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