Poster F105, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Why did Pandora open the box? When curiosity overrides prospective risk
Johnny King Lau1, Hiroki Ozono2, Anthony Haffey1, Kei Kuratomi3, Asuka Komiya4, Kou Murayama1; 1The Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, University of Reading, UK, 2Kagoshima University, Japan, 3Kochi University of Technology, Japan, 4Hiroshima University, Japan
This study examined how curiosity biases decision-making, even in the face of physical risk, and evaluated the underlying neural mechanisms using fMRI. Thirty-one right-handed participants were presented with videos of magic trick (N=36) performed by professional magicians and images of food in a 3-Tesla Siemens scanner. In every trial, after viewing a trick, participants were shown a wheel of fortune which visualized the probability of winning (and losing), and were asked to decide whether to gamble. If they gambled and won, they were provided with a ticket to see the solution. They were instructed that if they lost, they would receive a mild electric shock after the experiment. Participants could also skip the gamble. For each trick, participants rated how curious they were to know the solution. Based on a generalised linear mixed-effects model, increased probability of expecting no shock, as well as curiosity, heightened individual’s tendency to take risk. Neuroimaging analysis compared the neural activations of the ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’ trials at the time of decision making. In both magic and food trials, the acceptance (versus rejection) of the risky gamble was associated with greater activity in striatum, indicating that decision making driven by curiosity and extrinsic rewards are both supported by the brain’s reward system. A further functional connectivity analysis using the beta-series correlation method shows that striatal activity is coupled with posterior insula, a structure traditionally associated with the coding of negative stimuli and events.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making