Background

Groundbreaking 21st Century Research

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a noninvasive monitoring method to record electrical activity in the brain by placing electrodes along the scalp. Hans Berger, a German physiologist, was the first to record human EEG data in 1924. Now it is commonly used in a medical environment to diagnose epilepsy, comas, brain death, and sleep disorders. Besides being a valuable diagnosis tool, it is also used in a variety of fields as a research tool by providing a new insight into brain activity. Working with perceived risk and brainwaves is a relatively new field of study emerging at the start of the 21st century, with more research needing to be done before definitive conclusions can be made to represent the whole field. Experiments, like this one, help contribute to the research currently being done to help standardize methods as well as help future research in a variety of psychological and engineering studies.

Single vs. Sitkin and Weingarten’s  Measure of Risk Perception

In 2008, Yoav Ganzac, a Doctor in Cognitively Psychology, tested the validity of Sitkin and Weingaraten’s measure of risk perception, refereed to as SW from here on, compared to the single item measure of risk perception. The SW Model, which was the standard measure of risk, consisted of participants ranking the opportunity/threat, gain/loss, positive/negative association, and success/failure of the situation, while the single item measure had participants rank how risky the prospect was. Ganzac, along with his laboratory, determined that the single measure of risk provided a more accurate reading of risk while the SW model was more related to perceived return than perceived risk. To learn more on Ganzac’s research read On the Perception and Operationalization of Risk Perception.

Anterior Insula’s Correlation with Risk Perception

In 2010, it was established by Peter Boassaerts, a well established researcher, and his lab that activation in the anterior inslula, a part of the brain, correlated with risk prediction. To simulate risk, participants were asked whether one playing card was higher than another without seeing the initial value of either card, and then gambled on their decision. To learn more of Boassaerts’s research read Risk and Risk Prediction Error Signals in Anterior Insula and Human Insual Activation Reflects Risk Prediction Errors as Well as Risk. By bridging Ganzaxc’s work regarding subjective measures of risk and Boassaerts’ work regarding brainwaves, we plan to find a correlation between perceived risk and brainwaves in our project.