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Predicting risk-taking behavior from prefrontal resting-state activity and personality.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Studer Bettina, Pedroni Andreas, Rieskamp Jörg,
Project Biological Foundations of Risk Taking
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PloS one
Volume (Issue) 8(10)
Page(s) 76861 - 76861
Title of proceedings PloS one
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0076861

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Risk-taking is subject to considerable individual differences. In the current study, we tested whether resting-state activity in the prefrontal cortex and trait sensitivity to reward and punishment can help predict risk-taking behavior. Prefrontal activity at rest was assessed in seventy healthy volunteers using electroencephalography, and compared to their choice behavior on an economic risk-taking task. The Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System scale was used to measure participants' trait sensitivity to reward and punishment. Our results confirmed both prefrontal resting-state activity and personality traits as sources of individual differences in risk-taking behavior. Right-left asymmetry in prefrontal activity and scores on the Behavioral Inhibition System scale, reflecting trait sensitivity to punishment, were correlated with the level of risk-taking on the task. We further discovered that scores on the Behavioral Inhibition System scale modulated the relationship between asymmetry in prefrontal resting-state activity and risk-taking. The results of this study demonstrate that heterogeneity in risk-taking behavior can be traced back to differences in the basic physiology of decision-makers' brains, and suggest that baseline prefrontal activity and personality traits might interplay in guiding risk-taking behavior.