risk taking; decision making; cognitive modeling; human genetics; hormonal influences
Spalek K, Coynel D, Freytag V, Hartmann F, Heck A, Milnik A, de Quervain D, Papassotiropoulos A (2016), A common NTRK2 variant is associated with emotional arousal and brain white-matter integrity in healthy young subjects, in Translational Psychiatry
, 6(3), e758-e758.
Lejarraga Tomás, Pachur Thorsten, Frey Renato, Hertwig Ralph (2016), Decisions from Experience: From Monetary to Medical Gambles, in Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
, 29(1), 67-77.
Josef A. K., Richter D., Samanez-Larkin G. R., Wagner G. G., Hertwig R., Mata R. (2016), Stability and Change in Risk-Taking Propensity Across the Adult Life Span, in J Pers Soc Psychol
, 1(1), 1-2.
Luksys G., Fastenrath M., Coynel D., Freytag V., Gschwind L., Heck A., Jessen F., Maier W., Milnik A., Riedel-Heller S. G., Scherer M., Spalek K., Vogler C., Wagner M., Wolfsgruber S., Papassotiropoulos A., de Quervain D. J. (2015), Computational dissection of human episodic memory reveals mental process-specific genetic profiles, in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
, 112(35), 4939-48.
Gluth S., Sommer T., Rieskamp J., Buchel C. (2015), Effective Connectivity between Hippocampus and Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Controls Preferential Choices from Memory, in Neuron
, 86(4), 1078-90.
Heck A., Fastenrath M., Coynel D., Auschra B., Bickel H., Freytag V., Gschwind L., Hartmann F., Jessen F., Kaduszkiewicz H., Maier W., Milnik A., Pentzek M., Riedel-Heller S. G., Spalek K., Vogler C., Wagner M., Weyerer S., Wolfsgruber S., de Quervain D. J., Papassotiropoulos A. (2015), Genetic Analysis of Association Between Calcium Signaling and Hippocampal Activation, Memory Performance in the Young and Old, and Risk for Sporadic Alzheimer Disease, in JAMA Psychiatry
, 72(10), 1029-36.
Frey Renato, Rieskamp Jörg, Hertwig Ralph (2015), Sell in May and Go Away? Learning and Risk Taking in Nonmonotonic Decision Problems, in Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition
, 41(1), 193-208.
Frey Renato, Mata Rui, Hertwig Ralph (2015), The role of cognitive abilities in decisions from experience: Age differences emerge as a function of choice set size, in Cognition
, 142, 60-80.
Hogarth R. M., Lejarraga T., Soyer E. (2015), The Two Settings of Kind and Wicked Learning Environments, in Current Directions in Psychological Science
, 24(5), 379-385.
Gideon Keren, George Wu (2015), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, 2 Volume Set
Luksys Gediminas, Ackermann Sandra, Coynel David, Fastenrath Matthias, Gschwind Leo, Heck Angela, Rasch Bjoern, Spalek Klara, Vogler Christian, Papassotiropoulos Andreas, de Quervain Dominique (2014), BAIAP2 is related to emotional modulation of human memory strength., in PloS one
, 9(1), 83707-83707.
Frey Renato, Hertwig Ralph, Rieskamp Jörg (2014), Fear shapes information acquisition in decisions from experience., in Cognition
, 132(1), 90-9.
Vogler C., Gschwind L., Coynel D., Freytag V., Milnik A., Egli T., Heck A., de Quervain D. J., Papassotiropoulos A. (2014), Substantial SNP-based heritability estimates for working memory performance, in Transl Psychiatry
, 4, 438-438.
Gluth Sebastian, Rieskamp Jörg, Büchel Christian (2013), Deciding not to decide: computational and neural evidence for hidden behavior in sequential choice., in PLoS computational biology
, 9(10), 1003309-1003309.
Studer Bettina, Pedroni Andreas, Rieskamp Jörg (2013), Predicting risk-taking behavior from prefrontal resting-state activity and personality., in PloS one
, 8(10), 76861-76861.
In a letter, Benjamin Franklin (1789) once famously remarked that in this world there is nothing certain but death and taxes. Indeed, risk and uncertainty dominate decisions ranging from taking the subway instead of a taxi, to undergoing surgery instead of chemotherapy, to investing in stocks instead of bonds. Although we cannot help but navigate a world full of risk and uncertainty, not everyone responds to them in the same way. In fact, people differ widely in how they deal with risk: Some people refrain from all risky bets, whether in the stock market, in their profession (e.g., never change jobs) or, simply, in daily habits (e.g., always carry an umbrella); others may thrive on the opportunities associated with risk, and even actively seek out situations that would frighten others (e.g., running with the bulls in Pamplona or experimenting with illegal drugs).For a long time, psychologist and economists have been developing behavioral paradigms to measure how people respond to risks and uncertainties. However, theoretical conceptions of risk taking differ across disciplines. Economists typically define risk as the variability of outcomes and risk taking as a preference for this variability. Clinicians and psychologists, on the other hand, often define risk taking as behavior with potentially harmful and negative consequences. Grounded in these theoretical views, the behavioral paradigms measuring risk taking differ substantially between the disciplines. Whereas economists use rather simple but well-defined choices between monetary gambles to measure risk taking, clinicians use more complex, but also more natural risk-taking paradigms. Both approaches have documented a large inter-individual variability in people’s risk taking, but the determinants of this variability are still largely unknown. Recent research, however, suggests that biological factors such as a person’s genetic make up and hormone levels contribute to a person’s appetite or disdain for risk. To address this, we will elicit risk taking using a wide array of behavioral paradigms and investigate risk taking, taking into account its cognitive, genetic, and hormonal foundations.Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach by linking decision science, cognitive psychology and cognitive and molecular neuroscience enables us to pursue several important objectives: First, building upon but also going beyond recent research, we will measure the psychological phenotype, risk taking (in a large sample of healthy participants), by taking advantage of a plurality of measurement paradigms, ranging from risky choices between well-defined alternatives in a stable environment to repeated choices between alternatives with unknown consequences. Second, by rendering use of computational modeling techniques (developed in cognitive science and psychology), we will identify the cognitive mechanisms and processes underlying risk taking. Third, we then will relate overt behavior and cognitive processes (identified via modeling) to variations in various genetic polymorphisms and hormonal states, respectively. Consequently, we can comprehensively investigate to what extent differences in risk-taking behavior and in associated cognitive processes can be mapped onto differences in biological properties. Our multi-method and multi-disciplinary approach promises to substantially elucidate the molecular genetic physiology and hormonal underpinnings of people’s risk-taking and inter-individual variations on this important dimension of human behavior. This knowledge will be of crucial importance in developing better diagnostic tools for measuring risk taking, and the identification and treatment of pathological risk taking such as drug addiction or gambling.