Science fiction has a habit of becoming science fact, so if someday you find yourself sticking electrodes to your forehead before making a big decision, you heard it here first. A new study from Moscow's National Research University may reveal where in the brain we process risk appetite — and how we can boost it with an electrical current.
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"The majority of a person's decisions take place under conditions of uncertainty or risk," said co-author Zachary Yaple in a press release. "This is why we were particularly interested in uncovering the neurobiological mechanisms of risky decision-making." Study participants were given mild electrical stimulation at the frontal cortex, the area of the brain most associating with thought and decision-making, while they chose between entering a lottery for money or accepting a smaller guaranteed amount. A current of 20 Hz on the left frontal lobe, it turns out, opens you up the most to risk-taking decisions.
The scientists theorize that the 20 Hz frequency actually links up brainwaves that are related to reward processing. It doesn't necessarily change your evaluation of the dangers involved, but it may make the possible results all the more appealing. Since this research is so new, there are not yet applications available — but if you're wrestling with a decision, grab your left temple and see if that changes your mind. Just leave the zapping to the professionals, at least for now.