Part of brain linked to gambling addiction identified

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by Jason von Stietz - April 8, 2014

New research reveals that brain damage affecting the insula – an area with a key role in emotions – disrupts errors of thinking linked to gambling addiction.


The research, led by Dr Luke Clark from the University of Cambridge, was published on April 7 2014 in the journal PNAS.


During gambling games, people often misperceive their chances of winning due to a number of errors of thinking called cognitive distortions. For example, ‘near-misses’ seem to encourage further play, even though they are no different from any other loss. In a random sequence like tossing a coin, a run of one event (heads) makes people think the other outcome (tails) is due next; this is known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy’.


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