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Does Your Brain Represent Risk?

Determining the Correlation between Perceived Risk and Brain Waves

The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between perceived risk and brainwaves through use of a reward based risk simulation. Brinza, Dimicco, and Hassett, under the guidance of Dr. Ching and his PhD candidate Delsin Menolascino, monitored the brainwaves and a subjective measure of risk as participants run the simulation. The simulation consisted of eight playing cards in numerical order with a prize located after the eighth card. After completing a control section of mathematical problems, the participant began the simulation and guessed if the next card drawn from the deck was higher or lower than the card presently face up in the sequence of cards. If correct, the participant continued to the next card in the sequence and continued until the prize was reached or until they guessed incorrectly causing the game to stop. After testing participants, through signal processing techniques, the researchers found that perceived risk was evident in the transformed brainwaves by noticing that constant medium to high power at low frequencies and recurrent high power at high frequencies are indicators of perceived risk.