UCLA psychologists recently offers new insights about brain respond when we think about taking risks, like gambling.
What happens in our brain when we think about potentially losing money? Some of the same areas that get turned on when we think about winning money get turned off when we think about losing money.
A surprising finding is that as the amount of a potential loss increases, the parts of the brain that process fear or anxiety, such as the amygdala or the insula, are not activated.
"What we found instead," Poldrack said, "is you don't turn anything up. You turn down the reward areas of the brain, and you turn them down more strongly for losses than you turn them up for gains. Just as people respond more strongly to a $100 potential loss than a $100 potential gain, the brain responds more strongly to a $100 potential loss versus a $100 potential gain."