Dopamine Makes Gamblers Take Bigger Risks

Research has found that higher levels of the dopamine a brain chemical might increase risk taking behaviour for healthy people. They say that it is very much like the dopamine-boosting drugs, have been shown to do for people with Parkinson's disease.

Compulsive gambling

Researchers in British discovered that by raising dopamine levels in adults that are healthy led to them taking much bigger risks when they gamble.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter drug that is associated with reward-based learning. A Previous research linked drugs that increase dopamine levels, such as L-DOPA, to compulsive gambling for patients who have Parkinson's disease.

This new study was conducted on 30 people. They were given a choice of safe and risky gambling options that could resulted in monetary gains or losses. This was done after they were given L-DOPA and also after receiving an inactive placebo.

The participants who were given L_DOPA were found to take more risks to achieve bigger rewards after they received the L-DOPA, and they found that it did not happen with the placebo. The L-DOPA, however, did not affect how often the volunteers took risks after a potential loss.

The study was published in the July 8 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Rewards more appealing

Participants were happier winning a small reward while they were on L-DOPA than on the placebo. They were happier winning a large reward instead of a small reward while they were on placebo, but t5hose on L-DOPA were happy whether the reward was small or big.

Robb Rutledge, the study leader said That L-DOPA made people see that potential rewards were more appealing, however, it not affect the participants' perception of possible losses.

The findings offer a new insight into how the dopamine levels will affect the decision-making and emotion, according to Nathaniel Daw, who is a neuroscientist at the New York University in New York City, he was not involved in the study. He continued that the study could help explain some of the gambling and impulse control problems, and aspects of mood disorders.