Does Your Brain Represent Risk? YES!

After testing a fairly homogeneous population of undergraduate students at Washington University in St. Louis, we were surprised to see the variance of the participants’ subjective responses. For example, when presented with a card of value 10, the average subjective ranking was 5.88 but yielded a standard deviation of 2.84. The probability of success was 8/13 which is around 60% which approximately correlates to a ranking of 6 on the scale used. Although the average correlated to the actual probability it was unexpected to see the participants’ rankings vary so widely. This furthers the uniqueness in how a person’s brain represents risk.

In regards to the electrophysiological (EEG) evidence, low risk spectrograms were key to parsing out the differences between concentration and risk perception. With these differences noted, distinct phenomenology were found in the three levels of risk: low, medium, and high. Thus, risk perception is evident in brainwaves and it does look different from concentration.