IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Dopamine and Risk Choices in Different Domains: Findings among Serious Tournament Bridge Players

  • Dreber, Anna

    (Institute for Financial Research, Stockholm and Harvard University)

  • Rand, David G.

    (Harvard University)

  • Wernerfelt, Nils

    (Harvard University and Toulouse School of Economics)

  • Garcia, Justin R.

    (Binghamton U, SUNY)

  • Lum, J. Koji

    (Binghamton U, SUNY)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard

    (Harvard University)

Individuals differ significantly in their willingness to take risks, partly due to genetic differences. We explore how risk taking behavior correlates with different versions of the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4). We focus on risk taking in the card game contract bridge, and economic risk taking as proxied by a financial gamble. We also explore self-reported general risk taking, and self-reported behavior in risk-related activities. Our participants are serious tournament bridge players, which gives them substantial experience in risk taking. We find some evidence that men with a 7-repeat allele (7R+) of DRD4 take more overall risk in bridge than individuals without this allele (7R-), and strong evidence that 7R+ men take more economic risk in an investment game. Interestingly, these relationships are not found in the women in our study. Although the number of 7R+ women in our sample is low, our results may reflect a gender difference in how the 7R+ genotype affects behavior. Bridge masterpoints measure past success, thus reflecting playing skill and experience. We show that masterpoint level modulates the effect of the DRD4 gene in men in a highly important manner. We find that higher ranked 7R+ men take significantly more good risks and significantly fewer bad risks than other men, whereas the opposite is found for less-expert 7R+ men. This is the first study to distinguish between advantageous and disadvantageous risk taking. We identify a strong interaction among desirable risk taking behavior, measured success, and genetic variation. Considering other risk measures, we find no difference between 7R+ and 7R- individuals in general risk taking or in any of a number of other risk-related activities. Our results indicate that the dopamine system plays an important role in explaining individual differences in risk taking in bridge and economic risk taking among men. Little relationship is found in other activities involving risk or among women.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://web.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=587
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify ()


Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp10-034.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp10-034
Contact details of provider: Postal: 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Fax: 617-496-2554
Web page: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/index.htm

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dolly Chugh & Max Bazerman, 2007. "Bounded awareness: what you fail to see can hurt you," Mind and Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 6(1), pages 1-18, June.
  2. Laurent E. Calvet & Paolo Sodini, 2010. "Twin Picks: Disentangling the Determinants of Risk-Taking in Household Portfolios," NBER Working Papers 15859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor, 2008. "Are Risk Preferences Stable? Comparing an Experimental Measure with a Validated Survey-Based Measure," Working Papers 74, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  4. Monica Paiella & Luigi Guiso, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviour," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 222, Econometric Society.
  5. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73908 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Ariel Knafo & Salomon Israel & Ariel Darvasi & Rachel Bachner-Melman & Florina Uzefovsky & Lior Cohen & Esti Feldman & Elad Lerer & Efrat Laiba & Yael Raz & Lubov Nemanov & Inga Gritsenko & Christian , 2007. "Individual Differences in Allocation of Funds in the Dictator Game Associated with Length of the Arginine Vasopressin 1a Receptor (AVPR1a) RS3 Promoter-region and Correlation between RS3 Length and Hi," Discussion Paper Series dp457, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  7. David, Cesarini & Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2007. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 679, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jan 2009.
  8. Barnea, Amir & Cronqvist, Henrik & Siegel, Stephan, 2010. "Nature or Nurture: What Determines Investor Behavior?," SIFR Research Report Series 72, Institute for Financial Research.
  9. Johnson, Eric J, et al, 1993. " Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
  10. Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Chiao, Joan Y., 2008. "Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk Taking," MPRA Paper 10895, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1995. "Decision Making under Ignorance: Arguing with Yourself," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 15-36, January.
  12. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2010. "Portfolio Choice And Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 133-146, 01.
  13. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1996. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Discussion Paper 1996-61, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1999. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries; A Large Sample Approach," Discussion Paper 1999-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  15. Jeffrey Carpenter & Justin Garcia & J. Lum, 2011. "Dopamine receptor genes predict risk preferences, time preferences, and related economic choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 233-261, June.
  16. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  17. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp10-034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.