Selective activation of the nucleus accumbens during risk-taking decision making

Neuroreport. 2004 Sep 15;15(13):2123-7. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200409150-00025.


This study implemented a risk-taking task during fMRI to probe the brain circuitry involved in risk-taking decision-making in 12 healthy control subjects. Partially supporting the initial hypotheses, deliberation prior to selection of safe relative to risky responses generated greater activation in the inferior frontal cortex, superior temporal gyrus, and middle temporal gyrus; and deliberation prior to selection of risky relative to safe responses generated greater activation in medial frontal cortex, occipital cortex, nucleus accumbens and caudate. Additionally, accumbens activation correlated positively with the harm avoidance subscale of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) 125. These findings may provide target neural systems to study in subjects who exhibit problematic risk-taking behaviors and may partially explain why certain risky behaviors occur.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleus Accumbens / blood supply
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Personality Inventory
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Risk-Taking*


  • Oxygen