When deciding whether to bet in situations that involve potential monetary loss or gain (mixed gambles), a subjective sense of pressure can influence the evaluation of the expected utility associated with each choice option. Here, we explored how gambling decisions, their psychophysiological and neural counterparts are modulated by an induced sense of urgency to respond. Urgency influenced decision times and evoked heart rate responses, interacting with the expected value of each gamble. Using functional MRI, we observed that this interaction was associated with changes in the activity of the striatum, a critical region for both reward and choice selection, and within the insula, a region implicated as the substrate of affective feelings arising from interoceptive signals which influence motivational behavior. Our findings bridge current psychophysiological and neurobiological models of value representation and action-programming, identifying the striatum and insular cortex as the key substrates of decision-making under risk and urgency.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 6-June-2011
Author(s): Jones C., Minati L., Harrison N., Ward J., Critchley H.