Sleep Deprivation May Encourage Risky
TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep deprivation may lead
to overly optimistic thinking that fails to properly consider the
potential consequences of financial risks, a new study
Duke University researchers assessed the effects of sleep
deprivation on 29 adult volunteers who were asked to take part in
several economic decision-making tasks in the morning after a
normal night of sleep and again one morning after a night of sleep
Using functional MRI scans to study brain activity, they found
that those suffering from lack of sleep had increased activity in
regions that assess positive outcomes and decreased activity in
regions that process negative outcomes.
It's long been known that sleep deprivation can alter
decision-making skills and impair certain thinking abilities such
as attention and memory, but this study focused on the way in which
lack of sleep may also impact financial decision-making, the study
The study, published March 8 in the
Journal of Neuroscience, may be bad news for certain people, such as all-night gamblers, said the researchers.
"Late-night gamblers are fighting more than just the unfavorable odds of gambling machines; they are fighting a sleep-deprived brain's tendency to implicitly seek gains while discounting the impact of potential losses," lead author Vinod Venkatraman, a graduate student in psychology and neuroscience, said in a Duke University news release. "Countermeasures that combat fatigue and improve alertness may be inadequate for overcoming these decision biases."
Casinos use lots of tricks to encourage people to take risks
with their money, such as free alcohol, flashy lights and sounds,
and using chips or electronic credits instead of real money, noted
co-author Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology and
neuroscience and director of the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary
"Sleep deprivation surely makes gambling even more tempting for many people," Huettel said in the news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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