Multivariate associations between dopamine receptor availability and risky investment decision-making across adulthood

Cereb Cortex Commun. 2023 May 15;4(2):tgad008. doi: 10.1093/texcom/tgad008. eCollection 2023.


Enhancing dopamine increases financial risk taking across adulthood but it is unclear whether baseline individual differences in dopamine function are related to risky financial decisions. Here, thirty-five healthy adults completed an incentive-compatible risky investment decision task and a PET scan at rest using [11C]FLB457 to assess dopamine D2-like receptor availability. Participants made choices between a safe asset (bond) and a risky asset (stock) with either an expected value less than the bond ("bad stock") or expected value greater than the bond ("good stock"). Five measures of behavior (choice inflexibility, risk seeking, suboptimal investment) and beliefs (absolute error, optimism) were computed and D2-like binding potential was extracted from four brain regions of interest (midbrain, amygdala, anterior cingulate, insula). We used canonical correlation analysis to evaluate multivariate associations between decision-making and dopamine function controlling for age. Decomposition of the first dimension (r = 0.76) revealed that the strongest associations were between measures of choice inflexibility, incorrect choice, optimism, amygdala binding potential, and age. Follow-up univariate analyses revealed that amygdala binding potential and age were both independently associated with choice inflexibility. The findings suggest that individual differences in dopamine function may be associated with financial risk taking in healthy adults.

Keywords: PET; canonical correlation analysis; decision-making; dopamine; financial risk taking.