Dopamine and Risk Choices in Different Domains: Findings Among Serious Tournament Bridge Players
37 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010 Last revised: 25 May 2011
Date Written: May 20, 2011
We explore how risk-taking in the card game contract bridge, and in a financial gamble, correlate with variation in the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) among serious tournament bridge players. In bridge risk-taking, we find significant interactions between genetic predisposition and skill. Among men with the 7-repeat allele of DRD4, namely 7R men, those with more bridge skill take more good risks and fewer bad risks, while the opposite is found for less-expert 7R men. Conversely, skill does not predict risk-taking among men without the 7R allele. Consistent with some prior studies, we also find that 7R men take more risk in the financial gamble. We find no relationship between 7R and either risk measure among our female subjects. Our results suggest that the dopamine system plays an important role in individual differences in risk-taking among men, and is the first to distinguish between advantageous and disadvantageous risk-taking.
Keywords: Risk preferences, Dopamine, Risk taking, Contract bridge, Risk perception, Advantageous risks, DRD4
JEL Classification: C91, C93, D03, D81, D87, G0
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation