Neural correlates of evaluating hazards of high risk

Herwig, U. and Bruhl, A. B. and Viebke, M. C. and Scholz, R. W. and Knoch, D. and Siegrist, M.. (2011) Neural correlates of evaluating hazards of high risk. Brain research : international multi-disciplinary journal devoted to fundamental research in the brain sciences, Vol. 1400. pp. 78-86.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5844674

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In personal and in society related context, people often evaluate the risk of environmental and technological hazards. Previous research addressing neuroscience of risk evaluation assessed particularly the direct personal risk of presented stimuli, which may have comprised for instance aspects of fear. Further, risk evaluation primarily was compared to tasks of other cognitive domains serving as control conditions, thus revealing general risk related brain activity, but not such specifically associated with estimating a higher level of risk. We here investigated the neural basis on which lay-persons individually evaluated the risk of different potential hazards for the society. Twenty healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while evaluating the risk of fifty more or less risky conditions presented as written terms. Brain activations during the individual estimations of 'high' against 'low' risk, and of negative versus neutral and positive emotional valences were analyzed. Estimating hazards to be of high risk was associated with activation in medial thalamus, anterior insula, caudate nucleus, cingulate cortex and further prefrontal and temporo-occipital areas. These areas were not involved according to an analysis of the emotion ratings. In conclusion, we emphasize a contribution of the mentioned brain areas involved to signal high risk, here not primarily associated with the emotional valence of the risk items. These areas have earlier been reported to be associated with, beside emotional, viscerosensitive and implicit processing. This leads to assumptions of an intuitive contribution, or a "gut-feeling", not necessarily dependent of the subjective emotional valence, when estimating a high risk of environmental hazards.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Social and Affective Neuroscience (Knoch)
UniBasel Contributors:Knoch, Daria
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 07:20
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 07:04

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