How you bet is affected by your genes

Genes that control the brain chemical dopamine have been associated with the bets we make, whether at the poker table or in other areas of life.

Adrian Sampson/FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)

When people play a simple betting game, their decisions are influenced by variations in a set of genes that control the brain chemical dopamine, researchers report June 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding supports the idea that genetic variation forms an important source of variation in how people make strategic decisions and in other complex behaviors, the scientists say.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

More Stories from Science News on Genetics