Our willingness to take financial risks relates to our sensitivity to physical pain, according to new research being presented today at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) in San Francisco. The study is one of several highlighted in Saturday’s opening poster session, which also includes research on when children most rely on their elders for advice and on mixed-handedness and creativity.
Mind your elders
As children grow up, they learn to weigh the advice of their elders with their own perceptions of the world. A team of researchers led by Grace Berman of Northwestern University has pinpointed a narrow window of childhood during which that advice plays a much bigger role, even if it doesn’t square with what the reality that a child sees. Over a mere 13 months between about age 4.5 years old and just over 5.5 years old, children’s thinking becomes less susceptible to the advice of their elders. Therefore, adults may have more of an opportunity when children are younger than 4.5 to change a child’s behavior. (Poster A15)
The ouch of financial risk-taking
Given the tumultuous economy over the past few years, chances are good we’ve all felt the sting of losing money, whether in the stock market or somewhere else. As it turns out, how likely we were to risk our money in the first place appears to be related to how susceptible we are to physical pain, according to Janaiana Brizante and her colleagues from the University of Sao Paulo and Duke University. If one of their male test subjects was particularly sensitive to being physically hurt, then he was less likely to be risky with his money, demonstrating the critical role of pain perception in decision-making. (Poster A31)
Mixed-handers excel at creative tasks
Lefties are better at artistic tasks, and righties are better at logic and analysis, at least according to the Left-Brain Right-Brain theory. But what about mixed-handers, who split tasks between the right and left hands? Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, and Ball State University hypothesized that such mixed- handers would be better at creative tasks because they could more successfully connect the two halves of their brain. And that’s just what they found: Mixed-handers did significantly better overall on various creativity tasks than either sole lefties or righties. (Poster A136)
More than 1,500 scientists are attending the 20t annual meeting of CNS in San Francisco, CA, from April 13 to April 16,2013. Follow the meeting on Twitter: @CogNeuroNews #