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Do executive motor-control mechanisms regulate monetary choice and gambling?

  • Start date: 01 April 2012
  • End date: 31 March 2015

People often need to take decisions that involve some element of risk. This project investigates what factors determine risk-taking behaviour when making monetary choices. In particular, it focuses on how the need to exercise control over one's motor actions can influence risk-taking when making monetary decisions. Recently, the researchers have found that being prepared to cancel a motor response reduces risk-taking in a gambling task (Verbruggen, Adams, Chambers, in press).

Furthermore, they have demonstrated that learning to stop actions reduces gambling even when the tasks are performed up to two hours apart. These findings suggest that action control and high-level decision-making are intimately related. This offers exciting prospects for the development of interventions in eg gambling, substance abuse, and overeating.

In a series of studies, different aspects of control will be examined to increase our understanding of the conditions in which low-level control of action transfers to the control of higher-order decisions. This could lead to the development of new behavioural training programs. More generally, this work has the potential to contribute to a better understanding of self-control and the ways in which deficits in control can lead to impulsive behaviour, poor restraint over urges, and increased risk-taking.

  • Outputs (3)