Gambling behavior linked to dopamine regulation genes

Investors and gamblers take note: your betting decisions and strategy are determined, in part, by your genes.esearchers from the University of California, Berkeley, National University of Singapore and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have shown that betting decisions in a simple competitive game are influenced by the specific variants of dopamine-regulating genes in a person’s brain.

Brain scans show high activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and striatum while playing a competitive game. Researchers have now found genetic variations in dopamine-regulating genes in the prefrontal cortex and striatum associated with differences in belief learning and reinforcement learning, respectively. Ming Hsu image.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter – a chemical released by brain cells to signal other brain cells – that is a key part of the brain’s reward and pleasure-seeking system. Dopamine deficiency leads to Parkinson’s disease, while disruption of the dopamine network is linked to numerous psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, including schizophrenia, depression and dementia.

While previous studies have shown the important role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in social interactions, this is the first study tying these interactions to specific genes that govern dopamine functioning.

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Read the full, original story: Your genes affect your betting behavior

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